The time for Stephen McCauley’s breakout novel has come and My Ex-Life is it in a major way. A delicious novel for fans of Tom Perrotta, Maria Semple, and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney about how sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back.
David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.
The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.
Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her 17-year-old daughter.
That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices?
When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago―they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.
In prose filled with hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate one-liners, Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered. (Throw pillows optional.)
David is all alone now. His lover has left him, he has gained weight and just seems to have lost all traction where is life is concerned. Then enters Julie…his EX-WIFE. David and Julie have always had a great relationship, even when their marriage ended. David was more than happy to fly east and lend a helping hand. Julie is going through a divorce. Her only child is about to go to college. He husband wants to sell her house out from under her. Needless to say, her life is falling apart. But, David is there to prop her up.
This is a tale basically about a good, strong friendship. I did find the characters a little whiney, especially at the beginning. This does level off as the story goes along and they become stronger through each other. The plot is thin and needs a good bit more action. However, I still enjoyed the tale.
The one-liner jabs through out this novel are a hoot! And Julie smoking pot…and quitting…but finding her hidden joints and smoking again, made me laugh out loud.
All in all not a bad story and life, friendship and getting the job done!
I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.