Review: City Mouse

For all those out there who think the suburbs are hell, this is the book for you.

Title: City Mouse

Author: Stacey Lender

Themes: suburbs/city, social mores, motherhood, female relationships, working, marriage

Setting: NYC and a nearby suburb

Format: physical book

Source: ARC – thank you, Kaylie Jones Books and Library Thing

Jessica and her husband are finally ready to make the big move from the city to the suburbs, but Jessica doesn’t find the paradise she expected. She’s having a little trouble making friends, when the neighbor brings over a treat and invites her to a cookout. Everyone is friendly at first, but on closer acquaintance, she finds a few flaws. These new friends fight too much, drink too much, swear too much, and that’s just the warm up.

But Jessica is so desperate to fit in that she ignores all the warning signs and throws herself and her two kids into every activity she can fit into her schedule. She’s got the nanny, the preschool, the giant mortgage, the commute – so why isn’t it as fulfilling as she expected?

So far, this is about what I expected from this book. For all that I believe in sisterhood and feminism, I know that the mommy wars can be nasty. They shouldn’t be. We should support each other. But in reality, so many women are insecure about their choices and they take that out on each other.

 

My main complaint about this book was the amount of sex in here, and the amount of casual cheating going on in this group of friends. Maybe my friends are the exceptions here, but I would NEVER consider flirting with, much less sleeping with a friend’s husband, and I’ve never had one hit on me. (So awkward!) Really, I didn’t identify with these women very much at all. It was like reading about a myth of suburban life, and nothing like what I actually experience. For this reason, I have to give it 2.5 stars.

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Review: City Mouse

Title: City Mouse

Author: Stacey Lender

**I received this book for free from Library Thing and Kaylie Jones books. My views are my own.**

Jessica and her husband are finally ready to make the big move from the city to the suburbs, but Jessica doesn’t find the paradise she expected. She’s having a little trouble making friends, when a neighbor brings over a treat and invites her to a cookout. Everyone is friendly at first, but on closer acquaintance, she finds a few flaws. These new friends fight too much, drink too much, swear too much, and that’s just the warm up.

But Jessica is so desperate to fit in that she ignores all the warning signs and throws herself and her two kids into every activity she can fit into her schedule. She’s got the nanny, the preschool, the giant mortgage, the commute – so why isn’t it as fulfilling as she expected?

So far, this is about what I expected from this book. For all that I believe in sisterhood and feminism, I know that the mommy wars can be nasty. They shouldn’t be. We should support each other. But in reality, so many women are insecure about their choices and they take that out on each other.

My main complaint about this book was the amount of sex in here, and the amount of casual cheating going on in this group of friends. Maybe my friends are the exceptions here, but I would NEVER consider flirting with, much less sleeping with a friend’s husband, and I’ve never had one hit on me. (So awkward!) Really, I didn’t identify with these women very much at all. It was like reading about a myth of suburban life, and nothing like what I actually experience. For this reason, I have to give it 2.5 stars.

Book Review: Archie Meets Nero Wolfe

Title: Archie Meets Nero Wolfe

Author: Robert Goldsborough

Genre: 1930s crime fiction

Setting: NYC 1930s

Review:

My grandma collected mysteries. Most of them were by Agatha Christie, but once I had read all of those, there was another sizable chunk by this author, Rex Stout. Their covers were different, often featuring a woman in distress on the cover, but they sounded interesting. I don’t remember which book I started with, but I wound up reading them too.

This one is what is called fan fiction today – a tribute by author Robert Goldsborough. It’s an imagining of the first time Archie Goodwin, smart ass and tough guy, meets the cerebral genius of Nero Wolfe. In the first book by Stout, Fer-de-Lance, the two are already working together. But how did it all start? When and why did Archie come to New York? And why are the police always so willing to give him a hard time?

I really liked this one. Not only did  he get the setting right – early Depression era, jobs are scarce, society very stratified – but the characters are less defined versions of themselves. Which is exactly right, I think. Wolfe is still himself, with his fascination with orchids, his profoundly sedentary lifestyle, his gourmet taste. Even his office looks the same. And Archie is a much younger and less experienced version of himself, but it’s apparent what he will become.

I’m giving this one a solid 4 stars and a recommendation. However, if you haven’t already read a Rex Stout book, you might not enjoy it as much as I did, so start by reading Fer-de-Lance and then see if you like the style.