Other People’s Houses
Author: Abbi Waxman
Genre: Humor/Women’s Fiction
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Published by: Berkley Books
Pages: 330 [hardcover]
*Other People’s Houses was my Book of the Month pick for March
Opening scene: Frances Bloom has just completed her carpool routine, which involves seven children, four families, three different schools, and a daily WWIII Peace Treaty.
Today’s compromise has her trekking back home to retrieve forgotten toilet paper tubes for an art project. In the midst of completing her mundane morning drill, she finds Anne, her neighbor who is supposed to be at work, spread-eagle on the living room floor with a much younger man going to town on her vagina. That Much Younger Man is most certainly not Anne’s husband.
So much for all of those peace treaties.
Other People’s Houses is a brutally honest story about growing up, parenthood, and snarky (yet humorous) observations of life. The story is told from an omniscient point-of-view, with a highlight on Frances’ family. I was a kid on Christmas morning when I opened the book to find a neighborhood map and a chart to keep track of the families:
Other People’s Houses is a guilty-pleasure read; it is filled with gossip, quirkiness, and humorous metaphors. Although lacking a depth of plot, the relatable and comical day-to-day anecdotes kept me laughing until the last page.
“All these families, all struggling against one thing or another, doing their best, or maybe just pretending to be interested, or maybe actively trying to destroy each other, who knew? All of them united momentarily around fucking peewee soccer, brought together by the twin desires for healthy children and something to do on a Saturday.”
On the brink of marriage and motherhood myself, I found the story insightful, hilarious, and a bit painful. It is almost a self-help guide for parents/families. While it did not stimulate me intellectually, a light read was just what I needed. Who isn’t curious about what goes on inside our neighbors’ houses?