Cover Image: Life and Other Inconveniences

Life and Other Inconveniences

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Member Reviews

I have been reading Kristan Higgins for years, and she is a remarkably consistent writer. Here, as usual, was a wide range of sympathetically drawn characters, mostly female but with several interesting male characters too. Emma, her daughter, her paternal grandmother, her maternal grandfather, her special needs sister, her high school sweetheart (and baby daddy), his wife and kids.... quite the cast. She succeeds in her storytelling because of the authenticity of her characters, their feelings, and their interactions with each other, from teenagers to demented old ladies and everything in between. Though other people will read it differently, to me it was a story about making the right choices in life for yourself and surrounding yourself with people who are good for you, and vice versa. I've read that people say it's about second chances, but to be honest I saw someone who continued to make bad choices and reap what she sowed—I think rich old lady characters just turn me off to begin with, so I wasn't ready to get behind Gigi at all. Personal quirk. Probably that's what kept me from getting totally swept away by what is truly a beautiful, heartfelt book.
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LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES was an emotional read with lots of secrets, twisted truth, dysfunctional families, and ultimately love. The story was told by a different character each chapter, and I had to sometimes look back to see which character was speaking. The story took place outside of Chicago and in Connecticut.

Genevieve had money and definitely used it to have others do her bidding. She was cold and aloof. Her great-granddaughter, Riley, whom she finally met as a teen, seemed to be able to break down some of her barriers. Riley was a typical teenager but really grounded, thanks to her single-mom, Emma and Emma’s grandfather, both of whom she lived with outside of Chicago. When things go astray on the friends front for the teenager, Riley jumps at the chance for her and her mom to summer in Connecticut at Genevieve’s when she finds out they were issued an invitation to do so since her great-grandmother is dying.

Emma has had a tough life. Her mother committed suicide, and her dad, Genevieve’s son, dropped her off to live with Genevieve, which she did for ten years. When Emma turned up pregnant and couldn’t attend college as planned, Genevieve kicked her out. Emma then went to live with her maternal grandparents. Emma’s life took a long time to get back on track, but she’s always there for Riley.   

When they go to Connecticut, Emma’s grandfather rents an apartment to be there for “his girls” in case they need anything. We meet lots of characters—many whom Emma knows from when she lived there but others are new to her. All have trials and tribulations but it was nice to see barriers being broken down on many fronts. The characters were at times likable and other times not so much, due to often withholding the truth or their love. Though many p[ots seemed to be going on simultaneously, they were cohesive in the end. This was a nice story with family dynamics that were front and center throughout. It was definitely an enjoyable and quick paced read.

I’ve only read one other book by Ms. Higgins but have many of hers on my always growing TBR pile, and I hope to get to some of them soon. I was lucky enough to see her at an author visit at a local bookstore a few years ago.
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I’ve been sitting on this review because I’m just so torn on it. I initially loved this book. I instantly connected with the main character, Emma. She’s the mother of a teenage daughter and at the beginning of the book, details losing her mom to suicide and watching her daughter like a hawk for any symptoms and worrying over every teen angst. I instantly related to her and was invested in the story because that is my situation as well. However, that storyline kind of got lost along the way and I really wish that had been fleshed out more. The more characters we were introduced to, the more topics we were introduced to...until it just became too much. Too many heavy topics to tackle in one book- bullying, single parenthood, teen pregnancy, suicide, abandonment, marriage troubles, ALS, missing child, dementia...and that doesn’t even cover them all! On the other hand, this is an emotionally charged storyline and contains in its pages a substantial amount of heart. So I’m torn. I like it. I didn’t like it. But the fact that I’m still thinking about it weeks later is enough for me to recommend it. I was wholly invested in this family and the ending brought me to tears. This is one that I think you just have to check out for yourselves folks! If you do, I’d love to know your thoughts!⁣
Thank you @berkleypub for this advance reader in exchange for my honest review.
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I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. It was an advanced reader copy and I didn't know much about it going in. I don't generally love first person narratives but this one was done exceedingly well, where each chapter told a different character's story in their own voice and each voice actually felt distinct. It was emotional without feeling overly manipulative, and very human. I thought both Emma and Genevieve were wonderfully authentic strong female protagonists who lived their lives on their own terms, despite numerous tragedies. 
I have some minor quibbles (e.g. Riley, the daughter, was a little too goody-goody perfect to be really believable and most characters had so many tragedies it almost bordered on soap-opera) but my biggest issue is with the ending. Up to that point it was four stars for sure and then I wanted to downgrade it for multiple reasons (not listing here as they would be spoilers) and so it's probably more of a 3.5 for me.
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I loved this book!! I'm a big fan of Kristan Higgins so I already knew that this story was going to be amazing. This book seemed a little different than her latest books. There were many more POVs in the story and it made it interesting to dive into each character. The story was emotional and heartfelt, very moving. I would definitely recommend!
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This was a great story that really delved into the complex relationships that can occur within families.  I really loved the Emma the main character. She was a strong competent woman who also knew how to love even though she had been dealt some really raw deals in her life. I wanted to kick her grandmother in the butt, however I like the way she came around in the end. I also enjoyed most of the other characters, each having their own strengths and issues to deal with. This was a great read that went by very quickly. The stories within the stories held my interest and it came to a great conclusion. I would recommend this book as a great read to anyone who asked. It was complex and deep while at the same time having some funny moments.
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Another entertaining read from Kristan Higgins. Her stories present women grappling with life-changing issues and make their struggles both dramatic and relatable. In Life and Other Inconveniences we are introduced to Emma who has been dealt a bad hand by Life. As a Second Grader she discovers the body of her mother who has committed suicide. When her father is too weak to take over the parenting, he drops Emma at the home of her grandmother, Genevieve, a Martha Stewart type with a business empire, and a frozen heart. Genevieve is still mourning the loss of her perfect son who disappeared years ago as a kid.  Her husband subsequently died of a broken heart and the only one left in her immediate family is Emma’s father Clark, a disappointment as a boy and man. Emma is cared for by her grandmother for ten years while she is groomed for bigger things. Genevieve ‘s dreams are dashed when Emma and her boyfriend announce she is pregnant right after high school graduation. Emma is unceremoniously kicked out and for the next 17 years she struggles on her own to raise her daughter, get an education and make a life for herself. When our story begins we meet Emma, now a psychologist, trying to help her daughter Riley navigate the minefields of adolescence. It is at this point Genevieve comes back into their lives as she offers to make Riley her heir if they would return to Connecticut and help her through a final illness. It would seem we now have the makings of a Harlequin Romance, but Higgins is made of better stuff.
The stage is now set with chapters alternating between the three generations of women and the men who play parts in their lives. Each character has a clear voice and perspective and as the story unspools, the reader develops compassion for each of these strong women.  
Although the story is a mystery as we are stymied along with Genevieve about the fate of her missing son, it is fundamentally a love story. Not a romance, although there are elements  of romantic love woven in,  but a story of family love in all its strengths and weaknesses. As a reader I felt deeply invested in the story of these three and the other lively players  in their drama. I enjoyed the portrayal of three dimensional women with interesting lives and strong character. I also loved the sympathetic men who kept the book from becoming a male-bashing screed.
There was lots to enjoy in the story, including an ending that tied up all the many elements. My only complaint was a little too much repetitive “poor me” from Emma, but that made her character growth even sweeter.
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Kristan Higgins is a fantastic author and I always enjoy her books.  While I loved the story and characters in this book, it was not my favorite.  I felt that a couple of the issues were wrapped up too quickly in the end.  There were also a little too much going on within the book.  It seemed like each character was dealing with some big issue in their own lives as well as their relationship with the other characters.  That being said, I loved Higgins writing and style.  It was an enjoyable read.  I laughed, cried, and gasped along with the characters.
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Hmmmmm….I am really not sure where to start this one.....

Life and Other Inconveniences is my first Kristan Higgins book. I've seen her name tossed around and praised highly so when I was offered an arc, I thought "Why Not". The blurb was enticing and I've been finding myself reading Chick Lit and Women's Fiction more and more.

I truly wanted to love this book so much more than I did. Many of my friends really enjoyed it so I figured that I would too. That's not to say I hated it, but I didn't love it as much as I thought I would.

This book is a lot to take in. It is extremely character driven with very little plot going on. This story is mostly told from Emma (single mom) and Genevieve's (Emma's grandmother) POVs but we get some highlights from Riley (Emma's daughter) Miller (Genevieve's neighbor) and Clarke (Emma's father). 

The first half of this book is pretty much character history and their backgrounds. I was truly wondering what the point of the story was because we were getting so many flashbacks (something I usually enjoy) but this just felt overly saturated. The second half was much better in moving the story along, but by then I was already annoyed with the many characters and overwhelmed with who was who.

The only part of this book that I loved was the romance between Miller and Emma and that was a very small part of this story. I felt that this was most developed portion of the story and outshined the rest. While I enjoyed the mother/daughter relationship between Emma and Riley, it almost felt too unrealistic at times. I did enjoy the many generations in this book, but again, I felt like none of that helped move the book forward.

In a nutshell, this was a good read but just not what I had anticipated. I know many others loved this and many more will. Maybe it was just bad timing on reading this one for me but it won't stop me from trying her other books.

I'd still definitely recommend readers to give this one a go.
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How many times in your life has something not gone the way you’d imagined? I can tell you life has thrown me numerous curveballs, but I guess it’s all for a reason… I’m ready for that reason now. 😂⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

In all honesty, it’s all been for the best. Even if the endgame is still not in sight, I feel like I’m working toward it every day. And in the words of Ariana Grande, “thank you, next” life.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES tells the story of a group of people who’ve all been thrown curveballs in life, some more painful than others. I loved the way it all unfolded. I can always count on @kristan.higgins to deliver memorable and affecting characters and this was no exception.
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A beautifully complex story about an unconventional family and the healing power of forgiveness.

I cannot believe I have never read anything by Kristan Higgins before! By the end of the very first chapter I found Life and Other Inconveniences to be completely charming. It has that blend of humor, heartfelt emotion, pain, lightness, and authenticity. There is a messiness to the characters in this story that felt refreshingly like real life people. Their imperfections made them so easy to love in my opinion. They didn’t feel like merely characters from a novel, they felt like my family, friends, and neighbors. 

Genevieve London is wealthy, successful, and respected. In the wake of the death of her husband and older son, Genevieve rallied and used her fortunes to establish one of the top luxury fashion brands globally, though it often meant neglecting her other son. But Genevieve never expected to have to raise Emma, the daughter of her younger son, after he abandoned his legacy and couldn’t rise to the struggles of parenthood. 

Emma London never let her abandonment by all of the parental figures she had limit the parent she became. Her mother took her life when she was young, and her father couldn’t cope with raising her and left her in the hands of her grandmother Genevieve London as a young girl. When Emma found herself pregnant at 18, Genevieve cut her off entirely, forcing Emma to figure out motherhood on her own. But Emma was a London to her core, and she found a way to not only survive, but to raise her daughter Riley with the love and support her own childhood lacked.

Now, Riley is 16 and dealing with the struggles of growing up and being a teenager. When Genevieve calls Emma for the first time in 17 years and asks her for a favor, Emma isn’t sure what to do. She kept Riley away from the London wealth, prestige, and expectations for a reason. But how can she deny Genevieve this request?

I really loved the way Kristan Higgins structured this novel. In addition to the multiple POVs (which were extremely effective), she had an interesting way of providing back story to the characters. Rather than having them narrate their story in some way, she would weave in a chapter that just had the history of a person in such a fluid way, that I would forget it wasn’t being told to me by the character themselves. The chapters narrated by the characters were kept firmly in the present storyline.

To illustrate this, we see Miller’s character introduced early in the book and how he fits in with the rest of the characters. We also hear a bit about his history and where he is now. But then much later we read a full chapter walking through the life of Miller—the ups and downs, the light and the tragedy. We got to know him and then we learned this rounded backstory and context. It is part of him, but not who he is.

The reason I liked this technique is that it felt like an authentic way to get to know the characters. These are not perfect people. As the present day events unfold, I thought I had a handle on who that person was and what I’d do in their situation. But as these rich personal histories unfolded with the story, often I found that I misjudged them. It was a beautiful way to tell a story. I loved it!

I don’t want to spoil much about the story and the way it unfolds, so I’ll end with saying that this story will get you in your feels! It is so true to life in the messy ways families are structured. There is not much conventional in this family, but that’s the reality of life, right? How many people do you know who have a perfect family structure? That dream is unattainable. Real families do things wrong and have break ups and make ups. But the best ones also find a way to forgive. And that’s definitely the message I was left with!

Thank you to Berkley for my copy. Opinions are my own.
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This review was originally posted on  Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
4.5 hearts

I am a big fan of the recent works of Kristan Higgins.  These books contemporary romance but they also might be classified as the dreaded women's fiction (everyone could benefit from this type of book).  The reason I say this is because they tackle more realistic social topics than just focusing on the romance.  I enjoy her treatment of these topics.  It adds to the depth of the characters as we watch their journey in dealing with various issues.

In Life and Other Inconveniences,  the topics we discover in varying degrees of thoroughness include bullying, teen sex, blended families, inter-racial couples, parenting, single parenting, special needs children, suicide, mental illness, college financing, career changes and retirement, fatal illnesses, growing old, parent dealing with death of a child, and older couple dating.    Wow, when listed. it is a lot of things, which all added to the authenticity. I appreciate the compassion I felt in the topics even if certain characters were not nice about some issues.

The chapters in the story alternate between Emma, Genevieve and Riley, as our primary point-of-view. Genevieve is grandmother to Emma, whose daughter is Riley.  Genevieve and Emma have not spoken in 17 years!  This is how they come together again. There is much family history on all four generations, and then there is Riley's father and his whole family.

I loved this emotional read which shared all the relationship and life issues of families and friends with a beautiful sensitivity.  Emma and Riley are exceptional human beings and their kindness is inspiring to others. But they also are not afraid to tell it like it is and call others out on their bias or hypocrisy.  Highly recommended.
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I absolutely adore Kristan Higgins and this book did not disappoint. Emotional and sucked me in from the first page.
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“When you know depression can be genetic, and when your own mother committed suicide, you watch like a hawk.”

This was my first Kristan Higgins novel and I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. This emotional, multi-generational tale is told from alternating narrators, which made it a bit slow and hard for me to get into at first. 

Emma, the character we hear from the most, is strong and honest, having been through her mother’s suicide, abandonment by her father, and being kicked out by her grandmother when she became pregnant as a teen. The other major storylines involve her grandmother and daughter.

Once everyone’s storylines were introduced and they started to intertwine a bit more, the story picked up speed and I found myself emotionally touched many times, even teary eyed in the end. There is a lot going on in this novel, suicide, mental illness, loss, tragedy, young love, and parenthood.

Although I wondered at times if there was too much going on, in the end I found the stories fit together well. I appreciated the complicated characters and mourned with so many of them and their struggles.

I would recommend this one if you’re patient and looking for a touching drama.
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This story introduced me to characters I immediately fell in love with. Though the cast is wide and varied, each offering a unique perspective I found that I enjoyed them all. Each character had a depth and brought something special to the story. That being said, there were too many side stories in this book. I found that in parts I skimmed a little because I wanted to get back to the main story, not read about a side characters troubles. Despite that tiny issue, I loved the book. The story just has so much heart. Its about dying on our terms, and living on them as well. It’s about hope, forgiveness and most of all family. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a character driven story with a lot of heart, a little mystery and a dash of romance.
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Taking a page from innumerable contemporary romances at the moment, this book is told from alternating first person narrators. The person we hear from the most is Emma London. When her mother died, her father dumped her with his mother, the incredibly well-known designer, Genevieve London. She never quite feels like she belongs. And it becomes official when, at 18, Emma gets pregnant. Suddenly, she is out on the streets without a penny to her name so she goes to live with her maternal grandfather.
Years later, Emma gets a call from Genevieve; Genevieve is dying and wants to surround herself with family in her last days. Emma doesn't want to leave her burgeoning psychiatry practice but a series of events, including her now-teenage daughter, Riley, being bullied by her former group of friends. Now Emma, Riley, and Emma's grandfather are all going to live with Genevieve. 
Like many Higgins books, there's a lot going on in this novel. Maybe too much... there are a lot of Big Themes and trying to deal with all of these leaves little room for character or relationship development. I would have thought that Emma and her romantic interest would have been more of a focus... except that this book is categorized in Women's Fiction. And that made it less interesting than Higgins' other books. She's good at big emotions but they hit more with the reader when they're tied to people we care about. And that just didn't happen in this particular Higgins book. 

Three stars
This book came out August 6th
ARC kindly provided by Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley
Opinions are my own
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I think one cool thing about having been around the block or two with book blogging is seeing the progression of an author’s career and writing style. Kristan Higgins is one of those authors – going from contemporary romances to some more serious women’s fiction. And I say those two genres with ZERO hints of condescension because I love and respect both genres. Life And Other Inconveniences is probably the most serious book I’ve read from Higgins yet. And I think if you walk in expecting a light fun read, you’re going to probably find that isn’t what you’ll get with this book.

Life And Other Inconveniences follows Emma and Genevieve. Emma is a therapist in Chicago and a single mother to probably the most awesome teen girl – Riley. She lives there with her Pop who took Emma in when she was pregnant and Genevieve, her grandmother, threw her out of her home. Genevieve London is a wealthy designer of fancy purses and she lives in Connecticut. Genevieve’s health is on the decline and so, before she goes she wants to reunite with Emma as well as get to know Riley. And so, reluctantly, Emma returns home and allows Riley to get to know her.

The two women are very different people and butt heads a lot. However, as they will discover, there’s a steel core that makes them very similar. I will say, this story does not shy from depicting some tough moments – including a death during child birth, a young child finding their parent who died by suicide, and another young child who goes missing. There is a lot of trauma throughout this book. It was actually kind of hard to see. But at the same time, we see these people come out of the traumas scathed but also resolute. And well, for Emma, she has made a beautiful life for herself, even if she might be stretched financially.

On the whole, I found this book to be very good. It’s incredibly compelling. Life and Other Inconveniences is a book that I gobbled up mostly in one day. It doesn’t really have a lot of the humor I expect from Higgins, but well, maybe that’s a new direction? Regardless, I enjoyed what I read and would recommend it as long as you can handle the tough moments mentioned in the paragraph above.
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Having read and loved every Kristan Higgins book to date, I knew when I got LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES I was in for a fantastic story. Higgins has this magical quality to her writing that makes you feel right at home. It’s a cozy feeling and this book was no exception. 📖
This book felt a little different than her other books because she incorporated more POVs of characters interspersed with the main characters, Emma and Genevieve. I loved this. I felt like it brought so much more depth and a full-circle quality to all the characters and their motivations. The overall theme of this book, to me, was forgiveness. I felt really emotional reading about these characters learning to forgive old hurts and to give grace not only to others but also themselves. The romance was there but in no way overpowered the story. I also really loved the multigenerational family story. Emma was scrappy and resourceful, Genevieve was blunt and badass, and the interactions between these women was always something to watch.📖
I loved this book and while Higgins writing makes you feel cozy and at home, it also packs the best emotional punch. 
READ THIS love East Coast settings, a little blue blood drama, and family forgiveness. Thank you @berkleypub for this review copy!
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Authentic characters, multi-generational family dynamics and three strong women.

Told from different perspectives, I really got to know the characters and their motivation. The story had a more serious side than I expected, but also some lighthearted moments as well. There is plenty of drama and some thought provoking scenarios.

Emma has a rocky relationship with her Grandmother, Genevieve and we learn their backstory with all the heartache and struggles that led them to where they are. They are both strong, determined, and a bit stubborn.  I had a feeling about how they would resolve their issues.

Love, family ties and forgiveness is at the heart of this novel. We all know life can be messy and this family had much to overcome.

Recommend to fans of the author and Women's fiction.
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Talk about an emotional wringer. Kristan Higgins ripped my heart open and dragged out just about every possible emotion with this story. Fear, anguish, anger, betrayal, hope, affection, acceptance and, finally, forgiveness and love. By the time I got to the last page I felt like a limp dish rag. This is not a book I'll be re-reading. But it's a book I'm very glad I read. 

These characters, and what they endure, are vividly portrayed in heart-wrenching detail. Some of the things that happen to them haunt me still. But it's not all sadness and angst. There are flashes of Higgins' trademark humor woven throughout this powerful story that also includes emotional growth for several characters, forgiveness of past wrongs, reconciliation, redemption, a heart-wrenching mystery solved, and reason to believe in a happy future, with a worthy love, for Emma. 

The characters are flawed, not all likeable, but all memorable. Higgins has a gift for writing this type of character and imbuing them with the complex, human characteristics, both good and bad, that make them leap from the pages of her books and into my heart. Characters that make me care about them, even when I don't much like them and those who snuggle into my affections and remain there. She doesn't give them easy paths but she helps them look within and discover the strength, determination, and unconditional love necessary to find forgiveness, to choose happiness, and to fight for the happiness and well-being of those who hold their hearts. 

This is a powerful tale of the ways people respond to the heartaches and challenges life throws in their way and how those responses chart the course of their lives and relationships. Keep the tissues handy. You'll need them.
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