Author: Abbi Waxman
Genres: Women's Fiction, humor/satire
Published: April 3, 2018 | Berkley
Length: 352 pages
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"As the longtime local carpool mom, Frances Bloom is sometimes an unwilling witness to her neighbors' private lives. She knows her cousin is hiding her desire for another baby from her spouse, Bill Horton's wife is mysteriously missing, and now this... After the shock of seeing Anne Porter in all her extramarital glory, Frances vows to stay in her own lane. But that's a notion easier said than done when Anne's husband throws her out a couple of days later. The repercussions of the affair reverberate through the four carpool families--and Frances finds herself navigating a moral minefield that could make or break a marriage.”
First, a thank you to Berkley Publishing for providing an advance copy in exchange for my review.
To be completely honest, I was skeptical about Abbi Waxman's Other People's Houses. I had picked up a copy of her first novel (The Garden of Small Beginnings) and it was ok but not great. Simply put, the novel is not a type I would seek out again. But the opportunity to read and review Waxman's second novel presented itself and I decided I should jump right in! Oh, I was in for a treat.
I did not expect to read a book that would make me laugh out loud and cry in the same sitting. Frances, the central character who really holds the neighborhood together, is so relate able - even to me (I'm not a mom and not over 40 and not in a 20+ year marriage). Her ability to discern moments where she should provide brutal honesty versus those TLC moments is amazing. Waxman writes a perfectly imperfect mother, friend, and wife. I want to meet her IRL!
Anne's affair causes a lot of hurt. She hurts not only her husband and children but nearly all those who surround her in some way. It's heartbreaking. It's nerve-wracking. I loved it all.
The one thing I could really have done without is so much swearing. I am not easily shocked by sexual discussions, swearing, etc. but DUDE there was just W A A A A A Y too much swearing in this novel. Like, I began to be distracted by it. It's in weird places and feels a little forced. And I was also distracted by the fact that coffee is probably the actual main character. Fun fact, the word coffee appears 72 times in the novel. Frances basically runs on coffee and I'm kind of tired of hearing this "coffee first" mentality everywhere I go. Sorry, I'm on a tangent (but I mean really, why do we always feel the need to talk about how much coffee we drink or admit that we can't even be decent humans without the stuff, etc. ??? Just drink it.).
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a funny, quick read with a few emotional tugs on your heart in that I-didn't-know-I-needed-this kind of way.