Life and Other Inconveniences

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

Three stars: A book about change and growth, but I struggled with some of the characters.

Emma London hasn’t spoken to her grandmother in eighteen years, so she is surprised when her grandmother finally phones. Emma’s grandmother, Genevieve, claims she is dying, and she insists that Emma come and spend the summer along with her teenage daughter Riley. Emma resists at first. Why would she want to go back after her grandmother threw her out when she got pregnant her senior year of high school? Finally, Emma relents, not realizing that the summer will change all of their lives. Can they get over the past?
What I Liked:
*Life and Other Inconveniences is a book that was up and down for me. I struggled early on with many of the characters. Genevieve comes across as snobby, and I didn’t like her one bit. I also struggled a bit with Emma,Miller and Clark. The only character that I loved was Riley. Thankfully, after time and patience the majority of the characters transformed, and I liked seeing the growth. For me, this was a book that paid off with patience. 
*The book is told with multiple view points. There is Emma, Genevieve, Riley, Miller and Clark. Each character is flawed, and they all face problems. Some of them encounter gut wrenching tragedy, while others take on their own set of troubles. Sometimes, they don’t handle things well, and other characters remain unlikable throughout. I appreciated the different voices, the unique problems, and I especially liked how each character dealt with their own circumstances. I found myself changing my opinion for most of the characters. I always enjoy a novel that features tremendous character growth. 
*The story takes on many different topics from a missing child, death, tragedy and lots of heartache. I won’t lie, there is a lot of drama, but through it all there are beautiful moments as well. I loved experiencing the moments of forgiveness, kindness, love and understanding as well as a touch of romance and new beginnings. Basically there were lots of gray clouds and rainstorms, but every once in awhile a rainbow came through and it made it all worth while. 
The ending was bittersweet. There is a sad part, but there is also closure, forgiveness and new paths for many of the characters. It was nice to see after the struggles, a bright spot of happiness.
And The Not So Much:
*Maybe it was just me, but I struggled with this one. I found the first part with all the tension and unlikable characters to be downright depressing. I almost quit the book a few times because I wasn’t connecting with anyone. Thankfully, after time and lots of patience things turn around for the most part. 
*Clark was downright icky. I could have done without his view point. There was nothing redeeming about him at all. He dragged the book down for me. Yuck! I especially hated his final chapter, learning what he did. 

Life and Other Inconveniences is a book I wanted to love, but unfortunately I found parts of it to be too dramatic, and I struggled with unlikable characters. This is a book that explores the complexities of relationships, and it is also a story of growth and change. Patience paid off, and I enjoyed the book overall, but I found myself wanting less drama.
Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.
  

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
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Emma London’s job a single mom to Riley has been her most rewarding one. Overcoming a heartbreaking childhood to flourishing into an independent psychologist, she has had her share of obstacles. One of which is her ice-veined grandmother, Genevieve London, successful millionaire creator and found of London Designs who raised Emma when she was dropped off by her father whom never came back for her. 

As goes about life worrying about her daughter’s out-of-character mood, struggling to pay the bills and massive student debt, aging Pop who took her in when she was disowned by Genevieve as a pregnant teenager, she receives a call from Genevieve notifying her that she way dying and that she would like to finally meet her great-granddaughter by having them stay with her over the summer. With the prospect of Riley’s college getting fully paid by Genevieve’s wealth, Emma sets her pride in the backseat and packs up Riley with her Pop tagging along (to keep on eye on Genevieve) and head to Connecticut. 

This is a story that will surely break your heart and mend it back together again. Emma’s struggles and hopes while being a single mom who’s trying to hold everything together garners sympathy and keeps you engrossed within the story. Overall, this was a fantastic read and I highly recommend it.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll expect.:

As Emma comes to the realization that her highschool boyfriend and Riley’s father, Jason isn’t going to stay with them as a family, she thinks, “No house with a stone wall. No blue couch, no puppy, no swing in the backyard. No tulips. The pigeon, who’d flapped intermittently all these years, finally gave up the ghost. I’d known all along that Jason would never come through. It was time to admit that.”
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The plot of this book was reminiscent of Gilmore Girls: single mom, smart daughter, rich family background, but that wasn't enough to keep me interested. I usually give a book 50 pages, but 30 pages was enough for me to determine that I wasn't interested in reading more. Fans of Kristin Higgins may enjoy this novel, but having not read any of her books before, this one wasn't for me.
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Emma is a therapist and a single mom to Riley. Her daughter is having a tough time at school and has withdrawn quite a bit. Her best friends have turned on her and are not only excluding her, they have even started to bully her as well. As a therapist and a mom, Emma desperately wants to help her in any way she can.

Genevieve London, fashion designer extraordinaire, is Emma’s grandmother. Emma was raised by her grandmother for a number of years until she kicked her out when she became pregnant. That was the last time she spoke to her. Emma is shocked when out of the blue Genevieve calls her and asks her to visit for the summer. Her initial instinct was no, but after some thought she decides this visit may be just what her daughter needs. A little time away.

There were quite a few characters in this book. I don’t really have a favorite, but I would say Emma was the one I most connected to. Genevieve was just awful! I didn’t care for her one bit. She was too self-involved, strict, and drove me nuts. The kindness Emma and Riley showed Genevieve, despite her awful ways, was a testament to their characters and how kind-hearted they are, regardless of how they were treated.

I felt that much of this book was quite sad. Maybe it was just me, but I was surprised that it wasn’t a bit more light-hearted. All of the characters seem to be going through some sort of struggle, loss, or heartbreak. It was a heavier read than I was expecting, but I did enjoy how it all wrapped up.

This was my first Kristan Higgins and I look forward to seeing what else this author has to offer.
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Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn't protect her from life's cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve's young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma's own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother's doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her--until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back...but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?

Dabney: This book kinda broke my heart. In a good way.

Shannon: It broke mine too. Genevieve and Emma are damaged in very different ways, and the author did such a great job making me cheer them on, even when I didn’t like things they were doing.

Dabney: Yep. Higgins is wonderful at creating complex women whose flaws don't make you cringe.

Shannon: Genevieve was hard for me to warm up to initially. She treated Emma horribly, and I couldn’t understand what would cause her to behave that way. Fortunately, learning a bit about her back story helped turn her into a relatable character. Did either of you have a similar experience with her?

Dabney: I couldn't stand Genevieve for much of the book. BUT. I really enjoyed her as a character. This is one of Higgins' great skills--she can write characters whom you don't like, aren't rooting for, and still can't wait to see what they do next.

Kristen: Oh, I never found her relatable, to be honest, but I could understand her by the end. If she wasn't who she was, Emma wouldn't be herself, after all and I did love Emma. While I have a great relationship with my mother, I have several friends who are more in the Genevieve and Emma camp and I could see so much of them in Emma.

Shannon: It’s funny that you say that, Kristen. My relationship with my own mother contains hints of these characters, and I’m wondering if having been raised by someone who reminds me a bit of Genevieve made her easier for me to relate to.

Kristen: Oh, fascinating!

Dabney: Ha. I think I'm far more Genevieve than my own mom who is the loveliest person I know.

Kristen: I have come to adore the way Higgins writes mothers and daughters like Emma and Riley, however, and so I want to talk about Riley for a minute. I was impressed with how she was able to separate her relationship with her grandmother from her mother's relationship with Genevieve. Did you all feel the same?

Shannon: One of my favorite things about this author’s writing is her ability to bring complex family dynamics to life on the page. The relationship between Emma and Riley is the perfect example of this. It would have been so easy for Riley to view Genevieve the way Emma did, and I loved her for not doing that. She forged a unique relationship with her, one that didn’t hinge on anyone but the two of them.

Dabney: Absolutely. I come from a large close family and one of the rules--which, granted, is hard to follow--is that we all strive to have individual relationships with each other and not allow the dynamics of one relationship to overly influence another. Higgins does that in almost all her books--one character can have a vastly different relationship with a family member than someone else in the family does. Her sense of community doesn't require that everyone see each other in the same way.

Kristen: Yeah, I come from a small family and we still struggle with triangulation, so I can imagine the more folks there are, the harder it is.

I loved this thing from top to bottom, if I'm honest, and I just found the whole thing a world I could dive into and spend time in with glee. Was there anything that didn't work for y'all?

Dabney: Well, there is one thing. Higgins' women's fiction is less romantic and sexual than her romances. In this book this makes the primary romance less grounded than I'd have wished. I could have used more love scenes between Emma and Miller in part because I think it would have made that relationship even more believable. Plus I like sex scenes ;).

Shannon: There definitely wasn’t a lot of sex, but I didn’t mind that. I loved the focus on the female relationships, and the bit of romance woven into the story was kind of an added bonus.

Dabney: I can see that. I wish it had been more than a bit. I love her romances and the love story in this book left me wanting more of it. But, I'm also always up for powerful female relationships and this book offers those in spades.

Shannon: At its core, this book feels like a parenting story. We’re shown a wide array of parenting styles, some more palatable than others. Emma shines in this arena, while Genevieve kind of flounders, especially when it comes to her son Clarke. As the two of you read this, did it feel like a parent-centered story, or did you pick out another central theme?

Kristen: That's an interesting question, Shannon. I think I saw it broader than that, like it's more about family and connections that are both given and forged. Dabney, what do you think?

Dabney: It's a story about how the relationship between parents, children, and grandchildren are profoundly interdependent and what it takes to created and keep family. Higgins shines at showing how the most important aspect of familying is love--and this book is really about that.

Shannon: I love how you put that, Dabney. In more ways than one, love is a trademark of Higgins' work. She pays homage to it in all its many forms, and I'm constantly in awe of the way she brings so many different kinds of love to life on the page.

Dabney: Yes. Whenever I read a Higgins book, I am reminded of how capacious the human heart is and how lucky we are that is so.

As far as grades go, this was a B+ read for me. I enjoyed it and it left me being glad to be alive--no small feat in 2019. What about you two?

Shannon: I think I’m going to go just above you, Dabney, and give it an A-. It was pretty close to perfect, definitely something I’m happy to recommend to fans of Ms. Higgins’ previous books as well as to those who might be new to her writing.

Kristen: It's an A- for me too.

Buy it at Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes and Noble/Kobo
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I have to admit I have rather lukewarm feelings regarding this book. It started out really strong but as it progressed I felt it lost something with all of the characters and issues being introduced. ⁣
⁣
This is a multi-generational story about a wealthy elderly woman who reconnects with her estranged granddaughter and great granddaughter after many years.⁣
⁣
Over one summer, the younger women move in to take care of the older woman who claims to be dying of cancer. Meanwhile there are subplots involving a missing child, a deadbeat playboy dad, and a romance between the adult granddaughter and her former cousin-in-law.⁣
⁣
I’ve seen some say this gave them Gilmore Girls vibes but since I’ve never seen that show, I can’t say for sure... but if that’s your thing, you may like this! But for me, I finished it but it wasn’t my favorite.⁣
⁣
I still have Higgins’ GOOD LUCK WITH ALL THAT on my unread shelf, and I am looking forward to giving her books another try soon!
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Kristan Higgins is a very talented author, there is no doubt about that, however, I am having problems adjusting to her new style of writing with her new publisher.

My expectations, based on her previous books are conflicting with her new direction. It is not that this is not a readable book, but there is no humor, no wacky scenes, no crazy internal dialogue. And these things are what made her books memorable to me. I liked this book, but it is not one that I will ever go back and read.

Still, if you are looking for a heroine with strength forged from hurt and betrayal, an elder coming to terms with her mistakes, and a light sprinkle of romance then you will enjoy this book.
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Emma London hasn't seen her grandmother, Genevieve London, since the day she told her that she was a pregnant teenager. The prestigious fashion designer kicked her granddaughter out of the house and that was that. Her boyfriend's family blamed her for the pregnancy and once Genevieve London's money and prestige were gone, they wanted nothing to do with her either.  So Emma moved to Chicago to live with her grandfather and raise her unborn child.  They have a good life in Chicago. Emma is a successful professional and Riley is a smart and well-rounded teenager.  And then one day Genevieve calls.  She is dying and she wants Emma and Riley to come to Connecticut for her last summer.  Emma would rather have nothing to do with Genevieve and she is afraid that the cold-hearted woman will hurt her daughter.  But if there is a chance that Genevieve will leave part of her fortune to Riley, then she can't refuse the request.  Will the London women be able to repair decades of hurt in just one summer?

I have been reading Kristan Higgins' books for many years now and they only get better with each year. It is safe to say that Life and Other Inconveniences is her best work yet.  The author tells the story from many viewpoints,  including Emma, Genevieve, and Miller.   And the chapter where Miller tells the story of his daughter's birth nearly brought me to my knees.  It was so well written and so heartbreaking that I stopped for a moment to reflect on how well the author had done with that chapter. The way she got into Miller's head. His grief.  It was impressive.  Genevieve was a tough character to like.   We know that she hasn't had an easy life, despite being wealthy.  I really did not like the way she was keeping secrets from her family, nor was I sure that I was okay for what she really had planned.  - CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS -  I really liked the way the book ended.  Everything was wrapped up nicely, but not perfect. 

Bottom Line - I think Kristan Higgins is officially one of my favorite authors.   Her characters are multi-dimensional.  Her stories are funny and impactful.  And I look forward to every page. 

Details: 
Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins
On Facebook
Pages: 448
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: 8/6/2019
Buy it Here!
Thank you to NetGalley for the book in exchange for a review.
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I just reviewed Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins. #LifeAndOtherInconveniences #NetGalley Kristan Higgins has done it again...great story. It’s a story of family and second chances, with a little mystery thrown in. Each character comes to life through the telling of their perspective in alternating chapters. You really get to know what these characters are feeling and thinking.
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Though I do miss the more romance-y contemporary romance books Ms. Higgins used to write, I can't deny that I love the way her more recent relationship fiction books (I refuse to use the label women's fiction, UGH) go for a deeper dive into a wider variety of relationships. Life and Other Inconveniences is no exception--in addition to the slow burn central romance (which I wanted more of, sigh...), this book looks at all kinds of relationships: mother/daughter, father/daughter, mother/son, (great) granddaughter/(great) grandmother, friendship...I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two here, but they were all complex and richly explored and even when they were train-wreckish they were fascinating. I loved watching all of the relationships grow and change throughout, and one day hope to eventually be able to forgive the author for making me SOB toward the end.

(Seriously--have tissues handy. Like a box or two, at least.)

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
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Review will be posted on 9/10/19

Emma is a single mother with a complicated past.  You see when she was much younger, she lived with her wealthy grandmother who took her in after a family tragedy.  During her senior year of high school, Emma found herself pregnant and since she didn't take her grandmother's advice, her grandmother threw her out.  She hasn't spoken to her since that fateful day, but that is ok with Emma, because she has rebuilt her life and she doesn't need her grandmother anymore ---even her gobs of money.  One day Emma gets a phone call from her estranged grandmother, Genevieve saying that she is dying and she'd like another chance at a relationship with her great-grandaugther and with Emma.  Emma is obviously reluctant, but her daughter, Riley, who has been dealing with some mean girls at school, is showing some interest in who her famous great-grandmother is, as well as a summer in Connecticut. So, Emma agrees to go along with her daughter and her maternal grandfather to Connecticut for the summer.  Emma's grandmother, Genevieve London, is, essentially Martha Stewart. She's got an amazing lifestyle and clothing brand, not to mention one of the biggest estates in Connecticut. But under all the glamour is just an ordinary person with a very difficult past of her own.  Can the London family reconcile before all is lost?  Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins is a complicated family drama filled with everything I like in a beach read. There's family secrets, trials and tribulations, strong women, as well as forgiveness.  If you like beach reads with substance, look no further.

Emma is someone I admire in Life and Other Inconveniences. She rebuilds her life from rock bottom and makes it into something anyone could admire.  She doesn't need the London family money or approval and I like that about her.  Her relationship with her daughter Riley is a realistic one and I also loved exploring her complicated relationship with Genevieve.

Genvieve is a very complex character in Life and Other Inconveniences.  She is so much more than just a fashion icon.  Her back story is heartbreaking in every sense and her relationship with her one living son is also a hard pill to swallow.  The loss of her eldest son and her husband has made her strong, but you can still see all the cracks in her facade. I did feel badly for her even if I didn't always agree with her decisions.  Plus, dealing with the type of cancer she is dealing with will definitely tug on your heartstrings.

I do love fluffy beach reads and while I thought this Life and Other Inconvenienceswas going to be a little more relaxed, I am glad it wasn't.  Like I said, it dealt with some serious family issues: death, cancer, resentment, grief, tragedy, longtime grudges and more, but I liked going on the journey with the London family as they tried to navigate through things that one summer in Connecticut.  There were heartbreaking moments, lovely moments, and some funny ones too; so, if you enjoy a heartfelt beach read, definitely give Life and Other Inconveniences a try before summer comes to an end.
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This is the first book I have read by this author and at first I thought it was going to be just a typical romance story. This book has real depth as the characters reflect on their lives and we get to see what has shaped them and their personalities. Lies and misconceptions have prevented them from many of life’s more pleasurable moments as well as lifelong heartache. There is a satisfying ending to the story as some of the characters take responsibility for their actions and we ponder the choices they have made. #LifeandOtherInconveniences #KristanHiggins #NetGalley
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This was darker than Higgins’ previous novels. She used to be known more for light, funny romances, but I enjoy her turn to complex women’s fiction like this one. 

Emma has not had it easy. Her mother committed suicide when she was eight. Her father, who’d been spoiled all his life with things but not love, dumps her with his wealthy but unloving mother because he’s not up to the task of being a father. For the next ten years, Genevieve makes sure that Emma goes to good schools and is dressed to impress. By the time Emma is 18, Genevieve is proud that she’s is going off to a good college. After she graduates, Genevieve imagines that her granddaughter will be able to work at the fashion company she founded. But both women’s futures are thrown for a loop when Emma finds out she’s pregnant from her long-term boyfriend and Genevieve disinherits her before she can get that college education.

The daughter that Emma has grows up to be a beautiful teenage girl. When Riley is 16, Genevieve calls Emma and says she’s dying. Emma is persuaded to come back from her father’s home in the Midwest to go East to help because of the promise that Riley will get the inheritance. The idea that Riley won’t have to struggle through part-time jobs and heavy student loans like she did is too tempting to pass up.

Both Riley and Emma are far more forgiving people than I think I could be based on the way they both had family members abandon them. There are a lot of family secrets and relationships that unravel and evolve over the course of the book. Virtually every character has had to survive some great loss in this well-done story. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel.
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And we're ending the Summer of 2019 with a tearjerker! What a beautiful tale of family, love, friendship and first loves....

While Emma drive me absolutely bonkers as a parent (who actually tattles on your kids friends???!!!???), I couldn't help but love her tenacity, strength, and biting comebacks to Genevieve. She definitely raised an awesome fictional daughter in Riley so even if she was a narc, she was obviously doing something right...

My only disappointment? What really happened to that toe????
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Special thanks to Kristan Higgins & Berkley for providing our copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.

Oh, I really love this book! Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins takes on a lot. Truthfully, It's a coming home story of sorts. Reluctantly, Emma returns home after her grandmother tells her she is dying. With her teenage daughter & grandfather in tow, we see if forgiveness is in Emma's heart. This story centers around family, forgiveness & moving forward despite what life throws your way.

Why did I wait so long to read Kristan Higgins?

Reading the summary, I'm afraid this may be sad lady fiction. Life and Other Inconveniences contains lots of loss. Likely due to Higgin's exquisite writing, the story never feels too heavy for me. For that, I am thankful. While this is a longer book for me, it covers a lot of ground. Readers are treated to a multi-generational female trio & all the details & backstory are warranted and welcome.

THE VERDICT

I am Really Into This book! Honestly, I'm grateful for this story. Higgins really touches on the importance of understanding someone's past to really understand his/her present-day decisions. For me, this book has it all. Read Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins if you're looking for a feel-good, heartwarming & emotionally fulfilling read. Trigger warning for some discussion of suicide.
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This is my second Kristan Higgins book and I knew from the first that she would become an auto buy author for me and this book just confirmed that is true. There is something perfect about the way Kristan Higgins writes, it’s everything I love in books all wrapped up in one.

Life and Other Inconveniences is definitely a more serious read than the previous I read, and deals with some heavy and emotional topics. Amongst all of that are real life characters, that are full of charm and wit, and some lines so funny that I laughed out loud.

I’ve seen a few other reviews saying this book has some Gilmore Girl vibes and I had that exact feeling right from the start and couldn’t agree more. The mother/daughter/grandmother relationships are similar in nature and just as enjoyable.

Although a traumatic and emotionally heavy story line, I loved Miller’s side story. This heart wrenching part of the book, was written so well and so honestly, and although completely heartbreaking, it is all too real and devastating.

This book is an easy 5 stars for me and one I haven’t stopped thinking about since I finished. Thank you to Berkley for the copy to review, all opinions are my own.
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I liked this book. It's a good story about an estranged granddaughter and how she moves back home to care for her dying grandma. I liked the background story about the family. I like the main character and her daughter. There is a love story mixed in too.

This cover doesn't do this book justice. Had I based whether or not I was going to read this book on this cover I would have passed. But, this book has depth and a good story. I just don't think this cover conveys that.
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I received a copy of this story from NetGalley for a honest review


Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins,was an unexpected surprise. The first half of this book I hated all the character's and I felt depressed by what I was reading, don't get me wrong, I felt the writing was wonderful, I just didn't like the story. But all the sudden at 50% mark, I found myself starting to like some of the character's more, and the story started to feel more uplifting, This book churned up so many emotions in the end it's hard to say whether I like it or not. While it's really well written and an interesting story, I felt so sad at the end that's it's hard to say that I liked it. So if your looking for a book that makes you think and feel so many emotions this may be the book for you.
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It deals with love, loss, choices, growing up, growing old, independence and how we take care of other people.
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I'm in awe of Kristan Higgins' ability to take me through all the emotions in her books.  I can admit it, I cried,  Ms Higgins' takes complex, layered characters, finds their heart and drags you into it.  Life and Other Inconveniences is told from the view of three generations. Each has their own needs for love and family, and very different ways of coping with that need and the events and adventures that occur in their lives.  LaOI is a book about family, about the need to belong, about coping with loss, and accepting the unacceptable.  I would definitely include it as a book discussion selection.  fans of multi generational stories, this one's definitely for you. 
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
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