Other People’s Houses
By Abbi Waxman
Berkley Books, 9780399587924, April 3, 2018, 352pp.
The Short of It:
Grab a cold drink and clear your afternoon for this one.
The Rest of It:
I’ve been reading some pretty good books lately.
Frances Bloom is THAT mom. She’s the carpool mom and people in the neighborhood look up to her. She’s a friendly approachable type, reliable, and thoughtful but as she shuttles the neighborhood kids to and from school each day, she can’t help but see the imperfections of her own little neighborhood,
Her close, married friend is having an affair with a much younger man, affecting the neighborhood in many ways. One of the moms on the street is MIA (what’s that about?). Her cousin who happens to live just down the street from her is wanting another baby even though her partner may not want one. With all this going on around her, Frances begins to doubt her own happiness. Does she have a happy marriage? Has the thirty pounds she’s gained over the years driven a wedge between her and her husband?
This all sounds rather domestic and fluffy but I have to say that it’s pretty realistic as far as neighborhoods go. If you really pay attention while walking the dog, you see things. Reading this book is like flinging a window open and sticking your face right into your neighbor’s house.
The story is a bit scandalous and there’s some language. It feels kind of naughty and wrong. I can’t lie, I ate it up. Because along with wrong, there’s a lot that’s right. There’s a lot of honesty within these characters and truthfully, I could relate to several of these families in some way.
There are mixed reviews of this book. I’d hazard to guess that those who had trouble with it, probably couldn’t relate to any of the families in the story. But if you’ve ever done a carpool, been on the PTA with a bunch of catty wenches, lived in a tight-knit community, and had your best friend’s marriage fall apart, you’ll find plenty to relate to because there’s a little bit of everything in here and I found it to be pretty authentic in the telling.
Plus, it has some juicy bits and at one point I was laughing out loud.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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