It’s 1995, and three boho friends find themselves caught up in the rough currents of the ever-changing New York City. Navigating demanding careers, difficult boyfriends, and a famously abusive housing market, they live their lives with an enviable nonconformist flair that sets them apart. Life might be easier elsewhere, but for these determined friends, elsewhere is never an option.
Don’t Poke the Bear is a Sex and the City for real people. With no fantasy shoe collections, no money for fabulous restaurants, and no access to the hottest clubs, spirited survivors Allie, Rihanna, and Natia encapsulate the very heart and soul of New York City.
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“I’d recommend this novel to anyone interested in raw reads of a life contained in a specif-ic time-frame. Answering machines, punk rock, rent controlled apartments—these sharp details help transport us to a New York not far past but definitely no longer here….
“Don’t Poke the Bear is engaging with painful but knowable characters. While they’re each struggling against the same backdrop, they manifest pretty differently. D’Amato paints this painful sort of love with clarity and sincerity. The fourth character, of New York City itself, is a clear portraiture.”—Alexandra Barbush, Independent Book Review
“Don’t Poke The Bear by Robin D’Amato is a contemporary fiction novel about the experiences of three women with different backgrounds and circumstances who all found themselves living in the unpredictable but equally charming New York City and dealing with all of the challenges that the City entailed. The story was well-crafted, with believable characters in daunting situations full of drama and heartbreak, with a soundtrack for every part. I felt like I was their friend, shaking my head and sighing in disappointment every time the ladies would make a questionable decision….This is a TV series in the making; a well-written story about realistic characters in equally realistic and daunting situations.—Kimberly Trix Lee, Feathered Quill
“When author Robin D’Amato tells you that this book is “Sex and the City for real people”, she holds nothing back and really does deliver an emotionally raw, empathetic, and no-holds-barred approach to 90s life in the Big Apple. There was a wonderful range of diversity between these three central figures with full representation, and also a keen sense of the love and bond they share as they go through life’s difficulties together. I also really especially enjoyed the characteristic NYC dialogue intermingled with the characters’ authentic backstories and cultural differences, which moved the plot along superbly and gave the central cast a lot of attitude and grit. Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Don’t Poke the Bear to fans of realistic women’s fiction with witty, original writing. A truly engaging and inspiring read.”—K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
“With its emotional contrasts and encounters and focus on the colorful and diverse culture that is New York City, Don’t Poke the Bear provides a contemporary novel with a realistic, involving plot that’s especially recommended for new adults living in urban areas or those familiar with New York City’s unique cross-cultural melting pot.
“Its atmospheric descriptions and realistic dilemmas make for a thoroughly engrossing story of relationships, evolution, and revised romantic goals.”—Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“In this novel, a trio of female friends face rising costs and the challenges of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll in mid-1990s New York City….All of this is buoyed by the author’s clear prose and dry humor—highlights of which include an excellent use of lists at the beginning of the story. Like the music that captures the attention of the characters, D’Amato’s novel is a catchy anthem of friendship and the city.
“A smart, rhythmic, and unflinching relationship tale with a strong cast.”—Kirkus Reviews