Quarantine Post #62: Back in the Burbs by Tracy Wolff and Avery Flynn

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There is something to be said when I feel the need to get back into reading. Thank God for audible… And Thank God for the audible app on my firestick. I have to say the $14.95 is totally worth it. I can listen to books on my television… Makes things so much easier for me. No ear pain from the headphones… Good Times. Don’t shame me. I know that I have to get more reviews out there… I will… There is nothing better than logging into audible and seeing more books from an author you like are available. I did download this book month ago solely based on the name. But I figured now is as good a time as any to listen. This book is a collaboration between Tracy Wolff and Avery Flynn… and I need to know how such a thing would actually work.

There is always a main character that reminds me of myself… and that is always scary. Mallory is no different. To say that she has had a series of unfortunate events is an understatement. First, she finds her lawyer husband cheating on her in New York apartment with the new paralegal, (no one ended up with a black eye. It’s sad really.) then she loses her job at the very same firm that she helped her no-good cheating ex build from the ground up. She decides on divorce and absolutely no one is on her side. (I can’t imagine how I would react to parents that think me being cheated on is somehow my fault.) Then the final straw is when her Great-Aunt Maggie passes away. Well, all seems lost… Mallory finds out that her aunt left her a house back in New Jersey. It could be the answer to all the issues that Mallory has been having the past few months. Especially since she’s been forced to live at her parent’s house, in her childhood bedroom… while they try to force her back into her unhappy marriage.

But life is not as easy as that… not even in a fictional world. Mallory is all game to get to the house and fix it up. She was told beforehand that the house is in rough shape. That is an understatement. There is a tree limb cracking the driveway and a deathtrap front porch. The house list a mile long of HOA infractions. Let’s not even mention the taxes on inheritance. (I did not know that was a thing.) Mallory seems like a nice girl but she does seem to wither under the weight of those around her getting her to do what they want. She is attempting to get her life back and back in control of her own decisions without relying on other people. There are trying times. Fixer-Uppers always make me itch… especially since Mallory is struggling to try to bring in money. (Her ex is trying to cut her out of the law firm and fired her…) Poor Mallory is in over her head… with nothing resembling a plan other than Youtubing rehabbing houses.

Early on there is a list of people that I do not like. Besides her ex… it is definitely her parents. I don’t think I have ever come across parents who talk to their child the way they do to Mallory. It is rude, condescending… and I began to realize why Mallory was such a shrinking violet. Her father is domineering and thinks that she can’t handle anything in her life without a man telling her what to do. And I am not sure he even cares about her happiness. He makes everything about her situation about him. (There is one point where he asks her why she didn’t want him handling her divorce. Maybe because you keep telling her that she needs to call off her divorce to her cheating husband.) I waited through many chapters for him to get better and I felt that I would never get my wish. I was right.

Also what was up to people showing up to her house unannounced? Her Mom, Dad, her ex… just pushing there way in. Ugh. I really wanted Mallory to stand up for herself… But then I was annoyed when she finally decides to do so… because it is aimed at the wrong people. But I think I am more annoyed about the fact that this accurately depicts what people do. But I expect no less from Avery Flynn. On top of everything else, Mallory is struggling with the fact that she did not know what her great aunt was going through. Enter Nick. Her next-door neighbor is gorgeous and nothing like her ex Carl. He steps in to help Mallory with the house… and he may just be able to help her with her life… if she lets him. But she has been beaten down by life and has a lot of baggage. Can she look past that to something great? You’ll have to read to find out.

As is usually the case with these authors, the characters are greatly fleshed out. The characters are damaged in the most realistic way. I know several people that have gone through divorces… and sometimes it is hard for them to trust new people in their lives. So I knew that part was accurate. Mallory is that great balance between being saddened by life and being afraid to make any more decisions about life. Been there. Usually, I would think that there would be a support system for her… but she has none… At one point, she thought she had friends that she could turn to but they all sided with her ex. Sad to see. It is positioned like a romantic comedy and while there are several comedic moments… It really read like a series of unfortunate events. By the end, you are pulling for Mallory’s life to turn around.

In the end, it was well worth the read. Sassy, fun, and real to the end. I can’t end this post without talking about how great the narrator was. I usually do not pick books with solely a female narrator. I usually pick duets. Love those. But Sophie Amoss was fantastic. I felt all the emotions I was supposed to as I was listening to the story. If you see her name… definitely take a second look. Her performance is spectacular. All in all a great book. Check it out when you get the chance.

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