The first book that I decided to tackle on my summer reading list was Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman. I really enjoyed it. This is her second book, and I am adding her first book The Garden of Small Beginnings to my reading list.
The cover of Other People’s Houses says, “Behind every closed door is an open secret,” and I think that really does a good job of giving you a glimpse of the theme of the book.
Other People’s Houses follows four families that live in the same neighborhood in Los Angeles, and who’s children all carpool to school together. Francis Bloom is the dependable one – she takes the kids to and from school, she is the emergency contact for several people, she is constantly taking on more and more responsibilities at the children’s schools. She also knows a lot more about her neighbors that she might like – like that her cousin Iris secretly wants to have another baby, or that Bill’s wife has disappeared with no explanation.
After one of the children forgets something at home, Francis returns to her neighbor Anne’s house and finds Anne having an affair with a much younger man who is definitely not her husband. Even though Francis tries to stay out of it, she is continually drawn in. And then Anne’s husband find out and throws her out of the house in front of the entire neighborhood. The affair affects the lives of not just Anne and her family, but the entire neighborhood as well.
I just loved this book. I thought it was funny and refreshing – the struggles of parenting, of adult relationships, of just trying to keep it together. And I loved the way it was written. There are also a couple of really funny, slightly outrageous scenes that I really enjoyed. I also thought the book did a great job of looking at the complexities of the relationships between parents and children – especially between Francis and her teenage daughter Ava.
My mom also recently read it and she couldn’t put it down either. She loved it just as much as I did!
Have you read Other People’s Houses? If not you should absolutely add this to your summer reading list!
*A quick note – the book uses the F word a lot. I personally thought it made the book that much better, but I saw several reader reviews that said they wouldn’t recommend it because of it. Soooo if that is an issue for you, I guess don’t read it.