Jack Shanley’s mistress has sent his wife a cardboard box containing all the printed emails from their affair. But Deb doesn’t get the box. Instead the box is delivered to and opened by Jack and Deb’s children, fifteen-year-old Simon and eleven-year-old Kay. Faced with tangible proof of her husband’s infidelity, and the knowledge that her children know, Deb and the children leave New York for the summer in the hopes of figuring out how to move forward.
What can I say about this book? This book was fine. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. I really have no feelings one way or another about it and I’ll probably forget about it in the next few months.
The beginning of the book was great. It starts off with the letter from the mistress and then the children reading the letter and all the emails. There was a lot of potential for so many things to happen, but then the story kind of petered out.
I kept waiting for something to happen. I kept waiting for Deb to make a decision. I kept waiting for Jack to do something and get drunk. The plot seemed to move at a glacial pace. As much as this book seemed to be about the unraveling of the Shanley’s marriage, it didn’t seem to focus much on Deb as it did on the children and Jack. I would have liked to hear more about Deb and her thoughts.
What confused me the most were the reviews for this book, especially the ones that called it “funny”. The blurb on the cover of the book I read said: “This book is among the funniest, and emotionally honest, I’ve read in a long time.” I found nothing funny in this book. In fact, I found it a bit boring. Yet it was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Huffington Post and San Francisco Chronicle and the author is a graduate of the MFA program at NYU.
There was nothing bad about this book. In fact, the writing was very pretty. Unfortunately a beautifully written novel still has to have a plot and things still need to happen and I felt that nothing happened in this book.