Chappaqua: A Novel
eBook (PDF), 482 Pages
What happens when the person that everyone depends on needs someone to depend on?.... Standing on the threshold of senior year, Katie Fitzpatrick has it all. Excellent grades. Great friends. Good looks. She's the go-to girl and a star athlete at one of the nation's top high schools in America's dream town. In a place where money flows, life is ideal and no one is ever troubled, Katie is a shining star streaking through the sky.... Unfortunately, age seventeen is a bad time to discover that fairy tales have dark underbellies. When a single event pierces the illusion of perfection, Katie finds herself in unfamiliar waters. Floating alone, her troubles multiplying, she searches for solutions, only to find that when you're the perfect girl in the perfect town, it's hard to convince anyone that anything is wrong. Her dilemmas compounded by the unyielding demands of friends, family and life, Katie turns in directions she would never consider before, looking for light at the end of a very... More > dark tunnel.< Less
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14 People Reviewed This Product
Sep 17, 2009"An A++++++++ Book!!!!" It’s been almost 20 years since I was in high school, but 40 pages into Chappaqua, I felt myself back in those waxed hallways, wondering who was having a party this weekend. After that, I can only echo the words of the other reviewers on this page. You feel like you’re part of the story. You re-live your friendships and your high school days. The book is wow. The highs and lows are so real that my husband had to remind me several times that Katie was a fictional character and it was just a book. I had to call in sick to work because I stayed up all night reading the last 200 pages. My husband insisted on seeing what all the fuss was about and he’s already on page 150. If there was a way to give this book 100 stars, I would.
Aug 23, 2009"A wonderful truth" As a former chappaqua resident I can honestly say that this book is a great reflection of the pressures and the problems faced in those dark teenage years. This book is not only thoughtful and descriptvie, but it is also filled with honesty and truth. A great read for anyone who has survived these teenage years or for a parent who has a child embarking on their teenage journey...Not all stories have a fairytale ending. A must read!
Aug 10, 2009"Journey Back In Time" Is being told we are the best or always succeeding at everything when we are growing up a good thing? Clearly we know the answer, but when you are the perfect girl, in the perfect town, perfection comes at what cost? This is the question Rob Toonkel asks and deals with throughout Chappaqua: A Novel, showing us that perception can be the furthest thing from reality. When we think of high school based stories, shows like 90210 or Saved by the Bell immediately come to mind, or comedies like American Pie or Superbad. Than there are dark comedies like "Heathers" or "Pump Up the Volume" that are cynical, but tend to stray from reality. In Toonkel's "Chappaqua" he takes familiar themes to a new level, by looking at our teenage years through a much different and serious lens, one that is much more familiar to all of us. It is said that adversity does not build character, but often reveals it. Throughout this book Toonkel reminds... More > us of this fact, as he takes us on an emotional journey when we enter Katie Fitzpatrick's world, which is securely sheltered by her family, friends, and school. The reader will not help but be swept away in the story and become Katie's friend throughout her senior year. Even though typically many are jealous of the most popular girl in school, Toonkel paints such a real character that we cannot help be one of her friends and feel for our friend as she struggles to deal with her demons. While Chappaqua, New York for decades as been seen as a "90210" type community of the east coast, Toonkel uses this back drop to bring to the surface and fuel the problems Katie faces and highlight why they become such a struggle. In many respects, the theme of Toonkel's Chappaqua could not be more timely as each passing day we learn that our "invisible economy" is getting a dose of harsh reality because things are not always what they seem and that many problems existed under the surface that were never properly addressed. That in the end, perception was not even close to reality, as "financial geniuses" turned out to be nothing more than modern day crooks. It also leaves one to one to wonder how Katie would have dealt with her problems in present day versus the early 1990's when this story is set, a time that was not so long ago, where we actually had to make plans in advance to meet someone without the safety net of a cell phone. For anyone that wants to take a journey back to their formative high school years I highly recommend reading this book. While we can always look at old yearbooks, attend reunions, and talk about old times with friends, this book does a remarkable job at catapulting you back in time on such a personal level through its amazing detail and candid conversations. The book starts at an easy pace, leaving some to wonder where is Toonkel taking us? However as the book picks up considerable steam, like a rocket heading into space, I guarantee there is absolutely no way you will put this book down until you are blown away by its deeply powerful and profound ending that will leave you thinking for a very long time.< Less
Jun 20, 2009"Absolutely amazingly fantastic!" If you are able to read this book without feeling yourself in the story, you may need to check your pulse.
Jun 19, 2009"A great book!!!" I bought Robert Toonkel's Chappaqua on a whim. I hoped to find something like Jodi Picoult's writing which I enjoy immensely. In Chappaqua, I found something that rival's Picoult's best and something I will treasure forever. I had only heard of Chappaqua in news stories about the Clintons, but I feel that I know it perfectly now. The narration and imagery is so powerful that even if you’ve never heard of Chappaqua, you’ll feel like you’re right there. Actually, you'll feel like you went to school with Katie. The author’s ability to transform her from a two-dimensional book character to someone we can see, hear and feel is a feat that many attempt but do this well. Katie becomes our sister and our friend. She became so real to me that I feel like I should have her number in my phone. I was a bit surprised when I first saw the length of this book, but the action moves so fast that you never feel it dragging. The story keeps building and building. I read... More > the last 250 pages in one night. But it will stick with me forever. This is a book that will make parents give an extra hug to their children and make teenagers give an extra hug to their friends. I really hope that Robert Toonkel is working on a sequel to this book.< Less
Jun 18, 2009"Highly recommended read for all ages" As adults, we remember our teenage years with fondness. The years dull the true markers of teenage life, when we were conflicted with ever changing relationships, raging hormones, and the end of childhood. That’s where we find Katie Fitzpatrick in Robert Toonkel’s Chappaqua, caught between the two periods in a town where no one seems to show discomfort. She’s a senior in high school, ably juggling the familiar themes of family, friends and academics until the wheels begin to come off. You’ll be along for the emotional roller coaster, brought into the story by rich and vivid characters. I’m pretty sure I went to high school with people exactly like this. The high school scenes and small-town feel are authentic. As one reviewer wrote, you feel like you’re right there. Chappaqua is a rare book that is as meaningful to today’s teenagers as it is to those three times their age. If you’re looking for an emotional roller coaster or something... More > thought provoking, spend an afternoon (or several) with this book.< Less
May 16, 2009"To be read again & shared" I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading Chappaqua. I read this book during my pregnancy and honestly could not put it down for very long. This story took me back to high school and the days when we all desired to belong to some circle/clique. It was almost as if I was there admidst the conversations and head games. I felt the warmth of friendly embraces along the way as if I were on these pages. I strongly recommend this book to my circle of family and friends.
May 7, 2009"Chappaqua by Robert Toonkel" Back in the day, it was “just say no,” pimples, and popularity. These days it’s teen pregnancy, guns in school, and more drugs. And even though more stories these days are based on fantasy and vampires, there is one theme that hasn’t changed through the years. Acceptance. Kids till vy for popularity and attention. They all want to be #1. That’s why I found Robert Toonkel’s book, Chappaqua, to be a classic take on those old themes from what teens were reading yesterday but still a timeless fresh, and eye-opening, look at teens in today’s high school setting. Based on the cover alone - a pale robin eggshell blue with a picture of a statue, obviously some important dignity somewhere, and dark blue letters with a subtitle that reads “Slight imperfections in America’s perfect town” - you’d probably think this was going to be a history lesson on some corrupt political figure or East coast war that textbooks forgot. Even the simple title, Chappaqua,... More > sets you up for either an unknown community piece no one but locals would care about or some piece of Kennedy-like Peyton Place gossip. But all of these assumptions are completely wrong. Instead, it is the story of Katie Fitzpatrick. She’s about to be a senior, and she’s the girl everyone else desires to be. She has perfect grades, great looks, lots of friends, she’s an all-star athlete and writer for the school paper. She’s the center of attention among the girls and the guys. It’s the all-American dream for any teen on the verge of their final year of high school. But sometimes people like that probably wish they were dreaming. Now, Katie may sound like a predictable character sketch we all know (or personally knew while in high school), but Toonkel paints his characters with such realism and belief that it makes this story new all over again. The author pushes his narrative forward with excellent use of dialogue, interesting description, and a touch of humor. Imagine over hearing bits of a hundred conversations in the hallway between classes or at prom, but being able to understand everything with great accuracy. Toonkel uses his setting, the town of Chappaqua, as an ideal place where such a perfect student can grow up in the perfect town. But, he throws a wrench into its well oiled wheels which sends Katie’s real life dream spinning out of control. Conflict builds as Katie falls deeper into trouble after one single “life-altering” event, and seeks understanding and guidance from the very community that denies anything could be wrong. After all, they’ve put Katie on a pedestal and made her the center of attention (imagery conveyed quite beautifully on the book cover). How could anything be wrong? There are valuable lessons here for both parents and teens, as we experience one young girl’s drastic fall from the top. Sure, most of us didn’t like the cool and the popular if we weren’t part of them, but they may still need people to turn to when they aren’t crying wolf. Regretting reaching out to them after it’s too late is not something any teen should suffer from. After all, no matter how much we excell at, we still all breathe the same air and need a friend to count on from time to time. Although quite long and still in need of a bit of editing, Toonkel’s story is original and well thought out. The last chapter alone will have you thinking about Katie for a long time after you’ve closed the cover. Thanks to Robert Toonkel for creating an excellent and inspiring read for teens of today, and yesterday. This book is a lesson in life every teen shouldn’t learn the hard way. Read the full review at www.lulubookreview.wordpress.com< Less
Apr 25, 2009"Wow wow wow wow wow" Wow. It doesn’t seem fair to sum up a 480 page book in three letters, but I can’t think of any other words. If ever there was a book to show that POD books are just as good as those featured in the New York Times, this is all the proof that you need. “Chappaqua” is just wow. Chappaqua’s ingredients will seem familiar to any reader. There’s a small town, a high school and the typical stereotypes. We meet the main character Katie Fitzpatrick, as one of those stereotypes. She’s the All-American girl and the center of her friends. In my high school she was the girl we all loved to hate. But something magical happens with the way the author draws up and brings out the characters. We discover that the downside of the sunshine and rainbows life that everyone thinks the prom queen leads. More important, we don’t hate her. We become part of her. When bad luck finally finds her, we root for her. We want to reach out and touch her. So many books today put us on... More > the edge of the action. The most spectacular thing about Chappaqua is that is puts us in the action. I felt like I was in her circle of friends and in her family. I felt like I was on her shoulder for the highs and lows, trying to guide her in one direction or another. The scenes and feelings are so vivid that I found myself talking out loud to the book more than once. If you want to remember the days of high school , this is the best purchase you can find until they invent a time machine. If you want a well-written, emotional book, this is the best thing on any bookshelf, anywhere. Stop reading this review and find out for yourself why I can only sum it up with ‘wow’< Less
Mar 7, 2009"Chappaqua's perfect girls falls, will she be caught?" What makes something a moment in a person’s life? Why do we remember some events and not others? It’s the emotional connection we make with the person, the time or the place and later that connection is triggered by a sight, a sound or a smell. These unique experiences make us who we are and who I am is reflected in Katie Fitzpatrick. She is the main character in Robert Toonkel’s, Chappaqua. Katie is the perfect girl in the perfect family in the perfect town in America attending the perfect high school. She had the life I wanted in high school: the star athlete who could look great in anything she wore, fantastic grades that met entry into elite universities, the best friend a girl could want who went above and beyond even what a best friend would, and the person to be counted on when the chips were down. That’s who I wanted to be. But, when the chips to go down for Katie and she needs someone to reach out to her,... More > there’s no one there for her. Every person, every high school student has felt that way. Toonkel could take this set-up and make it into the formulaic teen angst formula that we’ve seen a million times. However, vivid imagery, deeply thought-out characters and plots twists, make Katie into a relatable person. Her experiences are our experiences, Toonkel has triggered emotions we thought suppressed from those tumultuous high school days. With Katie, we identify with what she’s going through and even her resolution…more than we are willing to admit to even to ourselves. More than once, I had to stop reading because her story reached so deeply into dark emotional valleys. Yet, I had to go back and find out how she would ultimately take her control again. When she does, it is a priceless lesson for everyone involved. Katie Fitzpatrick will remain with me now that this book is closed and when I visit her again, she’ll reveal more. Good literature should ring true in the reader’s life making you want more and as the perfectionist that she is, Katie Fitzpatrick succeeds in doing just that.< Less
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- Robert D. Toonkel (Standard Copyright License)
- Edition 5.1.2
- September 29, 2011
- File Format
- File Size
- 6.47 MB
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