Other People's Houses

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 May 2018

Member Reviews

Neightbors who almost literally live in each other's pockets are shocked at what they learn.  Everyone looked so perfect - turns out they are not!  The  incestuous relationship between the ffamilies was almost too much to stomach!
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Abbi Waxman’s ensemble novel Other People’s Houses tells the story of four interconnected neighboring families. Blending big and small secrets with daily family life, the story gets moving when an affair (and the accidental, ridiculous discovery of that affair) causes ripples through the neighborhood. With laugh-inducing interior monologues, silly situations, and messy relationships, there are plenty of giggles, but there are also moving moments of friendship and family.
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One of my new favorite books! This author has such a way with words the pages flew by in no time! I can’t wait to see the next work by this author! This was such a joy to read!
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Waxman's second novel explores what happens when one relationship in a seemingly perfect neighborhood makes everything off balance and causes us to question whether perfection is even worth it.
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Thank you to Net Galley for an ARC of this book.

Other People's Houses is about a high income neighborhood street in LA. It starts out with Frances, who is a carpool mom who takes all of her neighborhood kids to school each day. One day, one of her neighbors kids forgets something important at home, so after dropping the kids of at school, she runs back to her neighbors house and ends up walking in on her neighbor Anne "in the act" with a  younger man. It turns out Anne has been having an affair. 

Basically, Other People's Houses is about how we don't know what's going on in other people's houses, even our closest friends and neighbors that we might see everyday. This book explores this theme with all of these different characters in Frances' neighborhood. There are revelations in each home that surprise and shock and aren't always as they seem.

I gave Other People's Houses 3 stars on Goodreads. I liked it, but it didn't blow me away, but it was a good read.
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Didn't finish - Too much of a religious theme. 
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I absolutely adored "The Garden of Small Beginnings" and push it on everyone, but "Other People's Houses" is somewhat difficult for me. The first half bored me and I couldn't stand how it switched perspectives; I even contemplated setting it aside. I'm glad I kept with it, because it was a total shift around 45%. It got to where I couldn't put it down and became completely invested in these characters and their shenanigans. So the last half definitely made up for the first. And I was so happy to see a TGoSB cameo!!
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Cute light read about what goes on behind the closed doors of your neighbors from the wonderful author of Garden of Small Beginnings! Well written, but the kind of book to leave my mind the minute I finish it.
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I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this book since it's not my typical read. I am so glad I picked it up. The story was funny and the author did a great job of making you connect with the characters. This author is hilarious and I can't wait to read some of her other stuff.
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Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman is a 2018 Berkley publication. 

Blunt, but absolutely hysterical! 

Frances is “that” mom- the one who helps everyone, runs the carpool, is overrun with motherly instincts, but who also earns herself the slightly sarcastic nick name of 'Saint Frances'.

But, when she inadvertently catches her neighbor, Anne Porter, in a compromising position, she is forced to contend with the fall out as she finds herself inexplicably involved. But, Anne’s affair also prompts her to take a closer look at the state of her own life and marriage, which might be in a bit of a rut. 

Enter in an eclectic cast of characters, all facing a moment of crisis and you have a poignant, but rip roaring, laugh out loud funny “Married with kids” expose. 

This book will make you wonder just what, exactly, your neighbors may be getting up to- and will convince you that you’d probably rather not know. 

Anytime a couple you thought of as stable, suddenly breaks up, it can have an unnerving effect on you. This is the case here, to some extent, as well. Both Frances and her husband are shaken up by Anne’s affair, worried about their own relationship, as their lives evolve around their kids and the community more than one another- yet, up until now, they seem to be pretty content and comfortable in the marriage, even though the spark has died out. 

However, as their neighbor’s marriage crumbles, literally right before their very eyes, they voice deeper concerns, admitting there are definitely some worrisome issues in the marriage. I felt a little uneasy, and worried about this couple, pulling for them, but not one hundred percent sure things will ever change for them. 

But, Frances also has her hands full with her fourteen- year- old daughter, Ava, who is a walking, talking bundle of hormones, pushing Frances as far as she can, which is nearly a pitch perfect portrayal of the angsty, tumultuous, and stress ridden time for both mother and daughter. I loved this part of the story the most, I think. 

But, there are others in the neighborhood, and part of France’s carpool, who are going through uncertain times. Bill’s wife, Julie, has been absent for a long time, but not explaining the absense to the reader, leaving Bill to take care of their child alone. Meanwhile, Iris wants another child, but is afraid to broach the subject with her wife, Sara. 

Some characters are sympathetic, and others were harder to warm up to. But, all of them are a little recognizable in some way or another, making this neighborhood, community, and all its inhabitants feel like people you can relate to, or empathize with to varying degrees, understanding the various stages in life they are at, and the crisis points they are facing. 

Somehow, Abbi Waxman manages to nail the realities of married life once you have kids, jobs, and a thousand responsibilities, and how easy it is to get bored, to take those closest to us for granted, to make enormous and regretful mistakes, and just how easy it is to fall into a complacent routine. 

Her observations are so spot on it’s a little uncomfortable at times, but she still manages to find humor in life’s difficulties and stresses and absurdities. Just like in real life, there are ups, downs, pitfalls, mistakes, and regrets. Some will work hard to get back what they lost, others will work to keep from losing what they have, others will decide to accept their fate, but at the end of the day, there is still love, family, forgiveness, and friendships, and a sense of community that can be every bit as important and just as comforting. 

This is in many ways, an adult wake-up call, a cautionary tale- but it’s also a delightfully funny, and all too realistic look at life, marriage and family that will resonate with anyone and everyone.
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You never know what goes on behind closed doors until something as innocent as a forgotten cardboard toilet paper tube changes everything. Francis and Anne are best friends whose lives suddenly change forever one morning. (I recommend knocking, loudly, before walking into your neighbor’s house.) The ripple effects from a 10 second encounter pull an entire neighborhood into an unexpected and awkward series of events that none of them saw coming.

Hilarity, scandal and emotional upheaval are all parts of marriage and parenting in this entertaining novel by Abbi Waxman. Realistic and relatable, (the main character’s inner dialogue sounds a lot like she’s inside my head) Waxman’s tale of neighbors in an upscale California community could just as easily have taken place in my small NC town.
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This is one of those books that grab you attention in the first couple of pages and then you can't lay it down.  I'm thinking this neighborhood is pretty typical in large and small towns.  Frances and Michael are the center of the street, She takes the kids to school and is involved with everyone and their kids.  When Frances walks into Anne and Charles house to retrieve a forgotten school item she finds Anne with a strange man on the living room floor.  Sara and Iris have been together for a long time and their son is getting older.  Iris wants another baby and Sara is concentrating on her career.  And then there is Bill, raising his son because his wife Julie has disappeared without a word.  Love the intermixing of all the story lines.  There is something for everyone.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review
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DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Neighbors can be ignored, acquaintances or befriended on levels from chit chats over fences to confidants. In Frances’s neighborhood, she has some of each of the above. As a stay home mom, she is the designated car pool to school kind of neighbor, so she knows anyone with small children pretty well. At least she thought so. 
The day started out like any other day. Frances picks up her charges and heads to school with them. Kids are dropped off, piling out of the minivan like a clown car. That is until six-year-old Katie realizes she forgot her toilet paper rolls for her project. The last thing Frances wants to do is to drive back to Katie’s house, get the missing TP rolls and drive back to school again. But looking at Katie’s desperate little face she knows she will have to go back for them.
Getting back to the child’s house, Frances knocked, but when there was no answer, she figured Anne, Kate’s mom, had gone back to bed or was busy and didn’t hear the knock. She opened the door and saw the bag of toilet paper rolls right inside so she grabbed it and turned to make her return trip to school. That is when she saw Anne laying on the floor.
Frances immediately turned to her asking if she was okay, but suddenly it dawned on her Anne was not alone. And the person she was with was not her husband. Frances isn’t the type of person to blab all over the neighborhood. But even if she doesn’t tell anyone about Anne’s indiscretion, the wheels are in motion to change the dynamics of the neighborhood and their relationships with their families and each other. 
Behind closed doors relationships thrive or wither, life changing decisions are made or sometimes made for you. As we learn about all of the neighbors no one may truly be the person they seem to be to the neighbors, even those close to each other. But when two of the children go missing, they will all have to rally together to find them.
Other People’s Houses is a very interesting, often funny book about people who would not necessarily be connected in any way other than buying a house in the same neighborhood. Abbi Waxman gives the reader little gems of character studies throughout the story. Her insight to human nature brings the neighbors to life on her pages. One of my favorites is when one of the kids was thinking about his mom, “His mom never seemed to worry, she was the trellis his little vines twined around.” 
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and spend some time with Frances, her family and neighbors. This is the perfect summer read.
This is the first book I have read by Abbi Waxman. It is a gem, so I can’t wait to read her first book, Garden of Small Beginnings next!

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman
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Abbi Waxman has written the book I want to write. Well, not in terms of the overall plot, but I've been toying with an idea of writing a novel based on my neighborhood for the last few weeks. I'd almost forgotten about this April release, but after the disturbing (but excellent!) "Jar of Hearts", I was looking for something a little lighter to cleanse my palate. 

Waxman's "Other People's Houses" follows four families in an upper middle class white LA neighborhood. Frances Bloom, earthy mother of three is the predominant character. Her life as she knows it changes when one day after dropping all the neighborhood children off at school, she stumbles onto a scene she never expected: her neighbor, Anne, is in the midst of receiving oral sex from a much younger man.

Reeling from the revelation of Anne's affair, Frances takes stock of her own life, while trying to keep what she saw a secret. However, like most destructive secrets, this one's revelation threatens to destroy a once tight-knit neighborhood. 

As the Porters' marriage implodes, the other neighbors examine their own relationships for cracks. Iris wants another baby, but is terrified at how her actress wife will react. Bill's wife Julie has been out of the picture for months but no one knows why. Frances worries that her marriage to Michael has gotten too comfortable, but barely has time to spice things up as she deals with their teenage daughter's various dramas. 

Waxman explores each relationship deftly, with a wry sense of humor. Frances in particular is a delight to read. Her observations about her friends and family frequently made me laugh out loud. Her experiences with the PTA, grocery shopping and peewee soccer not only amused me, but also made her so relatable as well. As a stay at home mom not too far from 40, I found so much familiar in this novel. 

I was delighted to learn that this was Waxman's second novel and that her first starred a character who makes only brief appearances in this one. I love when authors integrate characters from previous books into their subsequent novels (as long as the appearance makes sense, of course). 

"Other People's Houses" might not be the exact plot I've been dreaming of writing, but it perfectly captures a neighborhood, parenthood and marriage in their ups and downs.
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A great book about families and neighborhoods.  Humorous, true to life and I loved all the characters.
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“She’d read somewhere that hurricanes had winds so powerful that a piece of straw could pierce an oak, thrown so hard it became deadly beyond its weight. She was the straw, pushed by forces she only barely understood.”

It almost seems like Frances Bloom lives on Wisteria Lane. She lives in the picture perfect neighborhood where she’s the mom in charge of getting everyone’s children off to school, but of course, there’s always more than meets the eye. This Desperate Housewive-y novel reminds readers that there is always something happening in other people’s houses and although human nature leads to us wanting to know everyone’s business, often times it’s easier for everyone if you don’t walk in on your neighbor fucking someone who is not her husband in her living room. Frances does her best to turn a blind eye, but when her neighbor Anne gets caught, she finds herself in the thick of all of the neighborhood drama including another mysterious absent wife.  

Other People’s Houses is a reminder that sometimes we are better off to watch our own bobbers. I found the change in narration interesting and important as it helped emphasize how at the end of the day, we are all focusing on our own problems. The book’s main character, Frances, was phenomenal at staying true to herself and propelling the story forward with the way that she inserted herself into everyone else’s lives. It was fascinating to watch all of the characters grow up in a sense. Waxman proves that we are never too old to learn some valuable life lessons.
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I had read a previous novel by this author and enjoyed it very much, so requesting this one was a no-brainer for me.

I LOVED this novel.  The author did a fantastic job of exploring different types of marriages and how they very often all end up in similar places. Some of these relationships are successful, and some of them are struggling to make it through. There was no character that I did not enjoy, and no relationship that I couldn’t in someway relate to.

Frances and Michael are the main couple in the novel, and their relationship is written in such a way that they served as a relief of normalcy from some of the others.  Where as Anne and Charlie have a relationship that is crumbling, Frances and Michael are able to discuss what is happening around them without it affecting their relationship with each other. They recognize that marriage has changed them both, and that time has changed them both, but they are still both in it for the long-haul.

The book gave a good perspective into what goes in the lives of neighbors that you may not be aware of. It tears apart marriage, infidelity, parenting, and being a child at many different ages, and it does so in such a way that it is constantly relatable. Waxman is an author I’m beginning to favor.

I definitely recommend this novel. It is one of my favorites so far this year!
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A slightly soapy, fun, domestic drama that is just as gripping as any thriller. Fans of Liane Moriarty will love it.
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honestly felt a bit uncomfortable when reading this book (not enough to stop) because it made me feel as though I really was peeping too far into other people’s personal lives.
In a neighborhood in Los Angeles, Anne gets involved in an affair with a younger man. One morning when Frances, who usually drives the car pool, returns to Anne’s house to pick up some school supplies, she accidentally sees something she wishes she hadn’t.
The lives of these four families are laid bare to the reader, although Waxman does it in a humorous way. And the end has a nice twist to it.
I also loved Waxman’s “The Garden of Small Beginnings.”
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I enjoyed this book it shows you should never judge people because you have no idea what they are really going through. These characters felt like friends. The story just flowed and was so enjoyable.
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