The Heights is about a middle-class couple with two boys struggling to make ends meet in Brooklyn Heights, a tony neighborhood one train stop from Manhattan that's home to a lot of Wall Street types and old money. Brooklyn Heights is my favorite rich neighborhood in Brooklyn. It's not trendy at all; I consider it to be more "classic." The streets are lined with gorgeous old co-op buildings, 19th-century rowhouses, and normal places like a plain old not-organic grocery store, a nice liquor store, coffee shops, a health food restaurant, dark old bars, a ratty old movie theater, even a diner.
In addition to neither half of the couple seeming like a real person, the other characters were even worse. They all appeared to be excuses to make up the most old money-sounding names the author could think of, like Anna Brody-Ashworth and Claudia Von Somethingorother. Hedges also does something that I found really annoying in Super Sad True Love Story, which is filling the book with unnecessary specific New York detail. Does it really matter whether someone walks down Hicks or Henry street on their way to the 2/3, and that they pick it up at Clark Street as opposed to say Borough Hall? Does it matter whether they live on Orange, Cranberry or Pineapple? Gary Shteyngart's characters were forever taking the F here or there. Why does it have to be the F? How does that detail help anyone who isn't familiar with the city? Or anyone who is, for that matter, because if you recognize his Lower East Side location and you know the characters are going to Midtown, you don't need to be told it's the F. Are such a huge percentage of their readers occasional visitors to NYC who will feel oh-so-in-the-know because they've been to the Connecticut Muffin on Montague Street? I really don't get this at all.
Plus, it shows that the details had no relationship to anything like a creative process, being 100 percent copied from real life.