REVIEW: Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences

Published August 6, 2019 by Berkley Books

 

Soooo awesome!!!

I LOVED Kristan Higgins’s previous novel “Good Luck with That”. I was a little worried that this novel wouldn’t thrill me as much as GLWT did. I worried for nothing as right from the start; I was hooked on this story.

Emma London is a therapist who works from home counseling people online. Working from home gives Emma more time to spend with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Riley. Emma and Riley have a great relationship, but Emma has noticed changes in her daughter over the last year. She tries not to over-analyze Riley, but she still worries.

Emma is walking past an empty storefront one day and sees an advertisement in the window. There is a picture of a pink purse with the words Genevieve London Designs Coming Soon! The sign takes Emma back to her childhood. Genevieve London is her grandmother, a woman she has tried hard to forget. That evening, Emma’s landline rings. She’s surprised when she hears her grandmother’s voice.

“I’m dying, so you have to come home and do your familial duty. Bring your child.“

Emma can’t believe Genevieve has the nerve to talk about family and duty. She tries to tell herself that she doesn’t care what happens to Genevieve. She remembers how unloved and unwanted she felt as a child. She also remembers the things Genevieve said to her the last time they spoke.  Does her grandmother think that she can buy forgiveness?

“We couldn’t go. We shouldn’t go. We weren’t going to go.“

But after an incident between Riley and some girls at school, Emma wonders if a change of scenery might be good for both of them.

85-year-old, Genevieve London used to be beautiful, wealthy, and well-known but now people barely recognize her. She hates getting old. Genevieve had been a good wife and mother. Then tragedy struck. She did not fall apart (on the outside at least). She went on and became a style icon and industry leader. But she knows she made mistakes.

How will Emma cope with her feelings for her grandmother? Will Genevieve connect with the great-granddaughter she’s just met and help build a bridge to forgiveness with the granddaughter she drove away so many years ago?

This was an incredible story!!!

My emotions were all over the place as I read this novel. I was laughing out loud one minute and wiping tears away the next. At times it was gut-wrenching and raw…and I loved it!

The majority of the story is told from Emma and Genevieve’s perspective but we also hear from many other terrific characters. The interaction between characters was incredibly entertaining. There were a few different storylines but I thought they all meshed so well. I became attached to many of the characters and I didn’t want to let them go.

Kristan Higgins is phenomenal when it comes to writing about relationships. In this novel, the issues around motherhood and parenting were so relatable.

This story touches on many important issues like mental illness, grief, abandonment, suicide, forgiveness, etc.

I can’t wait for another novel from this author!

 

I’d like to thank Berkley Books for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

 

REVIEW – Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins

Good Luck with That

Expected publication: August 7, 2018 by Berkley Books

WOW!

I know this book isn’t out until August. However, after reading the description and some recent reviews, I decided I had to read it right away.

And I’m really glad I did.

Georgia, Marley, and Emerson met at Camp Copperbrook, a weight-loss camp when they were in their teens. Now they are almost 35 years old. Georgia and Marley have been contacted by Emerson who asks to see them. Emerson knows she’s dying and wants to see her best friends one last time.

When they see her they are both shocked at how ill she is and how heavy she has become. They feel guilty that they hadn’t kept in better contact. They wonder why she didn’t reach out for help from them but deep down they know why….it was because Emerson felt ashamed. And when they visit her for the last time she hands them an envelope “To be opened after my funeral”.

After Emerson’s funeral, they open the envelope and are surprised it’s just one page long. They recognize the paper though…it’s a list from their time at Camp. A list they made called “Things We’ll Do When We’re Skinny”. It says things like – eat dessert in public, hold hands with a cute guy, shop at a store for regular people, etc….   These were all things that felt out of reach for them when they were young and overweight. Things they felt only thin girls got to enjoy.  Their conversations often had the words “When I’m skinny,  I’m going to….”

Marley is now a personal chef who delivers home-cooked meals to a variety of different people. Her clients love her. Marley comes across as happy …all the time. But is she truly happy? Or is it just an act she puts on to hide her pain? “The ache of feeling half of a pair instead of a whole person.”

Georgia left her job at a law firm four years before to become a nursery school teacher. Being overweight is unforgivable in Georgia’s family. Her brother and mother NEVER let her forget it. Georgia had been married but was unable to accept the love her husband offered.

Marley and Georgia decide they will try to complete the list Emerson left for them.

But will they realize what Emerson was really trying to tell them? What she wanted for her best friends more than anything else?

Interspersed throughout the novel are passages from Emerson’s diary. It includes things that happened when she was a child as well as the life she had been living over the last four years. Honestly, parts of the book were painful to read, especially the first few chapters and Emerson’s diary.  I felt for all of the characters. I could relate to a lot of what they were going through. I think a lot of people will. I have struggled with my weight but I don’t think you have to be overweight to understand.

I don’t agree with how people have attacked the author (in most cases WITHOUT HAVING READ THE BOOK). You don’t have to like every book you read, we’re all different. You don’t have to read the book. But attacking the author and telling others not to read it (especially if you haven’t read it) is a bit much in my opinion. Some reviewers felt that Kristan Higgins shouldn’t write about an issue she knows nothing about. Number one: We don’t know what the author (or someone close to them) may have struggled with in life. Number two: Most authors who write about serial killers aren’t serial killers so does that mean they don’t have the right to write about one?

In my opinion, this book was AWESOME.

Yes, it’s a book about weight and body image. However, it’s also about love, the bonds of friendship, relationships, self-acceptance, and other important issues.

I love the way the author writes. The relationships between many of the characters felt genuine. It’s also obvious the author has done her research. Like I said, some of the book is painful…I cried. But there was a LOT of the book that had me laughing out loud (seriously there was some crossing and knocking on wood, a spa trip and a magic show that almost had me in stitches).

There are definitely some vile characters who say some horrible things (just like in real life). However, there are also many kind, thoughtful, fantastic characters…including some of the most adorable four-year-olds ever. Kristan Higgins strikes an excellent balance between seriousness and humor.

Good Luck With That” was a fantastic read. A deeply moving and satisfying novel by an excellent author.

I’d like to thank Berkley Books and Kristan Higgins for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.