Marriage is complicated—and sometimes hilarious—in this novel from Australian writer Jordan (Nine Days, 2013, etc.).
Janice is a microbiologist—it’s her job to help small things grow without mutating. She loves her work because it’s understandable, safe, and predictable. But what she could never have predicted is the wild time she'll have at her sister Caroline’s house when Caroline’s husband, Henry, runs off with their daughters’ elementary school teacher, Martha. When Caroline takes off after Henry to repair their marriage, Janice is left in charge of the girls. That’s when things devolve into an increasingly unwieldy farce. A naked neighbor sneaks through the bedroom window, leading Janice to realize that Caroline is having an affair of her own. Of course, that’s the exact moment Janice’s ex-husband stops by, wondering why Janice is in Caroline’s bedroom with a naked man. And when said naked neighbor’s wife shows up, things get even more confusing. Soon, Janice is juggling a house full of petulant, argumentative adults and two perfectly behaved children. As she tries to help everyone get along, her forced proximity to her ex brings old feelings to the surface. She never fell out of love with him, but after years of trying in vain to have a baby, she felt guilty for being the reason he wouldn’t ever have the children he so wanted. Surrounded by so much relationship dysfunction, she begins to wonder if she made the right decision. Jordan’s dialogue is quick and witty, her writing is sharp, and the plot is fast-paced. However, the story’s heart comes from the way it deals with the serious issues (like infidelity and infertility) that hide underneath the humor.
A funny, pleasant look at love, forgiveness, and second chances.