I wanted to love this book because it’s about one of my biggest fears: moving to the suburbs. I plan on living in a city forever, and would absolutely hate the ‘burbs. I grew up in a small town where nothing ever happened and nothing was close, so I completely understand Jessica’s desire to stay in New York City. Reading about the adventures of a city mom dealing with the crazy antics of suburbia and suburban mom drama sounded like gossipy-fun and perfect for a quick summer read.
I had some serious issues with this book, though, most of them dealing with Jessica and her husband. I’ll start with the husband, Aaron. Initially Aaron and Jessica were looking at apartments in the city before broadening the search to houses in the suburbs at Aaron’s request. He wasn’t thrilled with the offerings in the city for their budget and wanted to see what the suburbs could offer at the same price. However, Jessica manages to find the perfect place in the city and within their budget, thanks to a tip from one of her friends. Despite never stopping their search in the city while looking at houses, Aaron is completely pissed over her excitement at finally finding a place that checks off all the boxes in the city. He calls her selfish for not fully committing to living in the suburbs, even though they both agreed to start looking there, not only look there. He calls her a selfish mother and wife. He was just a complete asshole, and then Jessica APOLOGIZES TO HIM. She decides to pass on the apartment in New York and agrees to buy a house in the suburbs because of a grown man’s temper tantrum, not because of a calm discussion between a husband and wife where they decide together what is best for their family. It was all because of his freaking temper tantrum, and he never apologized for it.
There were so many times I wanted Jessica to divorce Aaron, or at least have a serious conversation with him where he realizes how wrong he is and agrees to change. I would have bumped the rating up to 4 stars if that had happened. After an incident with a minor car accident when the nanny was driving their kids, a furious Aaron demands that only Jessica drive the kids anywhere, despite that fact that she has a full-time job in the city (a job that is supporting their family, since Aaron is not making as much at his startup job). I wanted to Jessica to point out that he isn’t volunteering to stay at home and play chauffeur. He also had to call her 5 times when she was on a well deserved vacation (despite her increased hours at her job, most of the childcare still falls to her – funny how that works). The emergency? He didn’t know how to work their washing machine. He lived there for a year and never used the washer. How is that even possible?
Jessica had her share of faults, too. She frequently comes across as very judgy, and at some points I couldn’t stand her. She acted like the innocent victim among all of the mom drama even though she wasn’t forced to participate. She seemed to be just using those women to avoid being lonely. Also, her first reaction to her distraught friend saying her husband used all of their family savings and was taking out money from their 401(k) was that her friend should remember she’s lucky to have a 401(k)? Really? That’s the advice you have for your clearly upset friend?
While I listed several issues above, this book was a fast and engaging light beach read that could be great with some sangria or margaritas. I think I was delving a bit too deeply into a light and funny read for some of my complaints. I read most of it on a two hour plane ride, and it was able to thoroughly keep my attention for the length of the flight.
I recommend this if you are able to push past some of the problems I listed above for a fast and entertaining beach read. It just wasn’t for me.