Highly recommended to anyone who fancies a good chuckle
I was very lucky to receive an advanced reading copy of this after thoroughly enjoying Maria Semple’s debut, ‘Where’d you go, Bernadette’ back in 2013. In fact a lot of comparisons can be drawn between the two; both set in Seattle, featuring Mother/precocious child relationships and both with a wicked sense of humour! However there is till enough ‘freshness’ here to make this an enjoyable read and not a copycat novel.
Our Protagonist, Eleanor Flood, is a seasoned animator slightly ‘failing’ at the real world. As the novel starts Eleanor is hoping today will be different… she will be present… initiate sex and attend her Yoga class etc. This scenario of trying to be the ‘ideal’ version of you we can all sympathise with indeed we often try and sometimes fail. I love how Maria looks at this with such heart and humour. ‘ Every person has it in them to be either the Competent Traveler of the Helpless Traveler… I’ve been able to go through life as the Helpless Traveler… now that I think about it, it might not be such a good thing’.
Eleanor has a husband and child she loves yet a ‘best friend’ she hates and a sister she tries not to acknowledge the existence of until a blast from the past and a head concussion bring these things clear into focus. I love that Eleanor also employs a poet to make sense of things and keep her synapses firing…’ I pay him fifty bucks plus breakfast… he accepts it and the crisp bill with a poet’s grace’.
I thoroughly enjoyed the illustrated sections in the middle and towards the end; drawn by Eric Chase Anderson. As a fan of graphic novels in general I felt this really added to both the plot and the humour.
I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who fancies a good chuckle… and quite frankly, today, who doesn’t!