Cover Image: Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything

Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book. I didn’t enjoy the quirkiness or the weird humor. I also didn’t like the development of the story. It was so basic. I had more annoyance than pleasure reading it! Agatha was so unlikable even though she was the one who was dealt a bad deal!
Was this review helpful?
Agatha Arch Is Afraid of Everything by Kristin Bair O'Keeffe is a book I was unable to finish.  I really wanted to like this book, but Agatha was so depressing, I just couldn't read any more.  Maybe at a different time, I would have enjoyed it.  
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
While I enjoyed the narration (which nailed the sarcastic tone I think was intended), I was not as enthusiastic about the book itself. I found the main character too unlikeable to really root for and the story too outlandish.
Was this review helpful?
This book starts with Agatha Arch finding her husband banging the neighborhood dog walker in their backyard shed. In a fury she does what I hope I would do if faced with a similar situation - she grabs a hatchet and chases the naked duo before decimating their love shed. 

I adored this book! I'm a huge fan of what I like to call suburban satire novels and this is up there with some of my favorites like Where'd You Go Bernadette? and Class Mom. Agatha is, as the title suggests, afraid of everything, and we follow her journey as she has to navigate life without her husband and the knowledge that her sons spend half their time with the "grand dame of grapefruits," her literary reference to her husband's new girlfriend and her perfect butt. (Huge props if you can name the book that comes from!) Beyond the repercussions of the affair, writer Agatha also has a new book she's due to deliver and the 2,900 other women who are a part of their town's FB Mom's group to contend with. I have to admit - I'm in a local Mom's group on FB and Kristin Bair's satire of the inanity that takes place on social media between groups of grown, capable women is so spot on I would swear she's been lurking on our FB page! 

I alternated between the book and the audiobook for this one and I really enjoyed the narrator while listening. I'm buying copies of Agatha Arch for some of my mom friends for the holidays - it's the perfect book for a funny and heartwarming escape.

Thanks to NetGalley, Dreamscape Media, Alcove Press and the author for an advanced copy to review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a two-part review of the  audio version of Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything. Soneela Nankani, the narrator, did an excellent job as a solo narrator. She captured the voices and nuanced snarkiness meant in the book for mom's groups both in social media and in-person. Conversations were easily followed. Stopping places were also easily managed. 
As for the story, I found Agatha Arch as a character someone I couldn't engage with nor feel a great deal of sympathy for regardless of her situation. She came across as unkind and judgmental of basically everything. I think the reader was supposed to feel her fears were driving those behaviors but it didn't wash with me. Perhaps the title should have been Agatha Arch is Judging Everyone and Everything. Also, list making or repetitive self-talk was a writing tool the author employed throughout and way too often for a way to drive home either Agatha's fears or her dislike of many things. 
Overall, the fact that Agatha found her husband in the act of cheating wasn't enough to cheer on her eventual acknowledgment of her fears and attempts to conquer them. 

Thank you to Dreamscape Media and Netgalley for an early copy of the audiobook in exchange for a review. All opinions are mine alone.
Was this review helpful?
Agatha, oh Agatha. A middle-aged woman who is an author and leads a somewhat normal life. She has a husband, two sons, and the weirdest fears. Life is working for her. 
Until she goes crazy and destroys the shed in the backyard the day she discovers her husband getting busy with the local dogwalker in the shed. 
I loved the descriptions of this book, though I found sometimes they could have been shortened, I understood. Being part of a mom group on FB myself, I wanted to applaud Agatha for calling out some of those women. I loved her brutal honesty and I think I could be friends with her. Agatha had me cringing as some points, the extremes she went to, then had me laughing at other times. 
Listening to Agatha face her fears (and tackle them head-on) and learn to stand on her own was inspiring.  My heart broke for her and rejoiced in watching her character develop into a strong, single woman. 
This is a book I will be recommending. Thank you #NetGalley for sending me a copy of #AgathaArchIsAfraidofEverything
Was this review helpful?
Agatha Arch really is afraid of everything. Not only that, the book opens with her walking in on her husband and a lover. Agatha embarks on a sometimes-funny, frequently wince-worthy, and very nearly self-destructive odyssey of self-discovery. She's horrible to everyone, from the homeless woman who comes to town to the moms on her Facebook group. You'd hate her if she weren't so often so endearing in the midst of it all.

Fortunately, she has the help of one Facebook mom ("The Kumbaya Queen"), who is determined to bring out the best in her--even if it takes 3/4 of the book--and of her counselor, known to readers as "Shrinky Dink." From  those two monikers you can get a sense of Agatha's funny, snarky voice.

Readers should know this is a book with a *lot* of profanity in it, and a *lot* of extremely earthy humor.
Was this review helpful?
Agatha's life shatters when she finds her husband having an affair with the dog walker. She stumbles upon them in the middle of the afternoon, in her backyard, in her shed, steps away from her house where her children are having lunch. Agatha's reaction is of course what any of us would do - she takes a hatchet to the shed and destroys it down to a pile of wood. 

"Men don't want women to know the shed is the thing that scares them most, women rising up, women grabbing a hatchet and hollering nu uh, no more, ain't doing it"

What if all women raised up and did what Agatha did how many sheds would be ruined?" 

This was quite an opening scene and from the first few pages I knew I was in for quite a ride. Agatha is then found alone, faced with everything that scares her. From the title of this book I thought Agatha might be a bit more of a recluse, a shy and timid woman. Boy was I wrong, while her list of fears is long, she is anything but timid and really has a unique personality. When Agatha is faced with a fear she often reacts by lashing out and being impulsive which inevitably gets her into some hot water.

Agatha uses many tactics to avoid letting anyone in and risk getting hurt again. She gets up to many wild things (most of which are boarder line crazy) in this quest to protecting her heart and her boys. Agatha turns into a full on spy, trying to purchase things to protect her from the world instead of facing her fears, for example her spy pants and car window smasher. The instances where she is clinging to these items for a sense of security really had me rooting for Agatha to overcome her fears and at times had me laughing, like when she decides these spy pants are the best and orders more, not one but ten more pairs then ends up getting herself entangled in the fishing line she keeps in a pocket of these spy pants and has to cut herself out, with the pocket knife she also keeps handy at all times. Oh Agatha. 

The biggest question I had when reading was if Agatha would ever open up and face those fears head on, or get to a breaking point where her crazy was too much and most importantly, will Agatha stop being so creepy? 

It's a special thing when a book comes into your life at the exact moment you're in the mood for a story like this and you connect so well with the main character. I can't say I have a lot in common with Agatha and I can see to someone else she may not be quite so loveable but I just adored Agatha. I found her absolutely hilarious and her honest and harsh look at life was a refreshing new perspective for a main character. I enjoyed being with her on this journey of self discovery. 

There are several chapters where she is talking to her shrink with this brutally harsh judgement of herself and her short comings. Her shrink is wonderful and helps guide Agatha in this journey. In fact I liked all of the supporting characters in this book. Some of which can be found in the neighbourhood moms Facebook group (with the one token dad) where it feels like the whole world is watching (and sometimes judging) Agatha and everyone else. If you've ever been in a neighbourhood fb group you will find a lot of this quite relatable and in my opinion rather hilarious. 

I listened to this book and found the narrator did a great job and I easily got lost in the story but I did find there was a lot of texting, emjois and facebook comments and the way those are read in print are different from hearing them aloud and it was a touch annoying. Also while I loved the character development, the plot was a 3/5 for me, not a lot happened and we didn't really get anywhere fast but I still enjoyed the story and would happily read more about Agatha's life.

This book really look me on quite the journey and I loved watching Agatha grow. I will certainly be recommending it to many of my friends and may even pick up a print copy to compare to the audio.
Was this review helpful?
What you have here is an adorably written beach read with a 'moral to the story' which is so subtle you hardly notice it.  When Agatha's husband leaves her for the neighborhood dog walker, all niceties seem to be forgotten and Agatha has 'disaster' written all over her.  Agatha is a funny, quirky character you can't help but like.  What is also fun about this story is the comical remarks of the local face book mom's group.  Being a member of my local face book mom's group, I had to laugh at the similarities and the comedy of it all.  As an audio book, the narrator seems to have had a lot of fun reading this one and her listeners will enjoy it as well.  Even though it's a mindless  beach read, I did learn that while goats can eat up all your poison ivy, they could die from eating azaleas and rhododendrons.
Was this review helpful?
Mesmerizing and hilarious.  The narrator did such a famous job telling the hilarious tale of frightened of everything Agatha Arch.  Ive never laughed out loud so much while listening to a novel.  Agatha leads a life of mixed up adventures while stalking her husband's lover, trying to make friends in a digital age, and looking for love.  Fabulous!
Was this review helpful?
I think I’m the wrong audience for this book.

I went into it expecting a “light read”—the cover and title suggested a cutesy, light-hearted novel about a fearful person who eventually comes out of her shell, or some such thing. I expected at least a light tone to compliment the silly antics Agatha gets up to. Instead, the whole thing starts out depressingly abysmal and maintains that feeling for far too long. It isn’t until the very end of the story that she begins to remind me of a cranky Bridget Jones, and by then it feels like too little, too late.

Agatha comes across as an unsympathetic, unrelatable caricature of a NIMBY-ist “Karen”. She feels entitled, has no friends, alienates anyone who tries to get close to her, and her online moms group barely tolerates her. She even has a difficult relationship with the teddy bear in which she confides (no joke). She is a WASP who actively trolls the other WASPs in her world. She refers to most people in her life by debasing nicknames she created, such as The Interloper and Shrinky-dink, rather than their actual names—evidence of yet another way that she deliberately keeps people at a distance.

At times, the text suggests that she is so vengeful and vindictive because her husband cheated on her with (and left her for) the dog-walker—a send-up of the “jilted ex” trope, no doubt—but at other moments it is very clear that she has long been cynical, abrasive, and hostile to everyone around her. The only people she does not seem to alienate are her own kids, and there are moments when even this is no longer a certainty. All of this, in addition to her single-minded self-absorption, makes it hard for the reader (well, for ME, at least) to feel invested in her character.

I’m not trying to say the book is objectively bad, as there is certainly the right audience for it out there. Perhaps the book is supposed to feel like a vicarious revenge fantasy for jilted spouses. I mean, all of this caricaturing has to be deliberate and self-aware, right? Perhaps we’re supposed to wonder whether Agatha is the way she is as a defense mechanism resulting from her multiple irrational fears. Perhaps Agatha is drawn this way to deliberately evoke zero sympathy, although I can’t imagine why this would be the desired effect. I've tried to keep an open mind, but I almost stopped listening altogether when the tired, racist trope of bored-housewife-seduces-“exotic”-black-handyman was introduced.

Finally, I’m sooooo not into the way much of this book’s interactions take place in an electronic/online environment. I’m technically a millennial so I probably shouldn’t mind this, but I find that style so jarring and not at all engaging.

I suppose I should say some nice things, too. I finished the book, so I guess that’s something. Also, I’m amused by Agatha's made-up cuss words. As a character, Agatha started to become interesting to me when I noticed how dissonant her intense fear of so many ordinary, everyday things seemed in contrast to the nonsensical, dangerous, and illegal things she was so driven to do. I was so busy hating her that it took me a while to pick up on this. I also appreciated the few moments when she became almost-vulnerable by tentatively showing legitimate interest in others, thereby approaching the making of real human connections. There, that was 4 nice things.

So yeah, I am the wrong audience for this book.
Was this review helpful?
Agatha Arch is afraid of a lot of things.  Not everything.  She is annoyed by everything.  She is judgmental of everything.  And everyone.  Compared to those, her fears are actually a pretty short list.

Agatha Arch should be someone I was pulling for. She should have been someone I related to.  She starts off losing it for a pretty good reason.  Yes, her reaction was beyond what most would have been, but it made sense.  I think it was the only time she made sense.  She had snotty nicknames for everyone she met.  Who calls their therapist Shrinky Dink?  Or some poor homeless woman The Interloper?  Agatha Arch is just a horrible person.  We are supposed to believe that this is because of her fears and her mental issues.  You can't blame it all on that.  

I couldn't like her and I kept hoping she would face real consequences for what she did to people.  No one did, though.  Her husband is caught having sex with a dog walker.  Not THE dog walker because they don't even have a dog.  His kids are a few yards away, he's in a shed, and he's caught by his wife.  Yet, no one seemed to see him as much of a bad guy.  

It all boils down to whether I would want to read about these people.  I'd hate to live in this town and I never want to visit it again.  It's too bad, because the author had an interesting voice and a good sense of humor at times.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to #netgalley for allowing me an advanced copy of this book even though I finished it late.  

I was hoping this book would have the same vibes as “Where’d You Go Bernadette?”  And I was right.   I love characters that are deeply flawed.  Agatha is the neighborhood pot stirrer on her Facebook group and all of the drama she creates is just what her upscale New England neighborhood needs.   This book is full of quirky situations that are often laugh out loud funny.  I loved this book and hope you do too.
Was this review helpful?
Oh, Agatha. I love you. You are a breath of fresh air. Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe was just the audiobook I needed this past week. I’ve been a nervous wreck lately for multiple reasons, so Agatha and all of her quirkiness eased some tension, and brought a huge smile to my face. I admired her dry sense of humor, and would totally befriend her in real life. Here’s a few things you need to know about Agatha:
1. She loves to cuss.
2. She’s a little crude.
3. She’s fricken hilarious.
4. She owns a pair of spy pants.
5. She’s a #boymom.
6. She caught her husband cheating.
7. She’s not for everyone.
8. She’s afraid of everything.
Agatha is an extremely relatable character that you just can’t help but root for. The way she pokes fun at the local moms group on Facebook had me howling! She really knows how to press the buttons of the neighborhood moms, and says exactly what’s on her mind. No filter whatsoever! If you’re a fan of Laurie Gelman or Abbi Waxman, then Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything is definitely for you. 4/5 stars for this fother mucking book! Ha!
Was this review helpful?
This is a review of the audiobook of this novel.

Agatha Arch is afraid of a lot of things, there are too many to list. The most ridiculous one is “beans”. She is afraid of beans because she had once watched a movie where the serial killer ate beans after he kills his victims, usually in very gruesome ways. But we all have our inner fears so I went with it.

The beginning starts with Agatha catching her husband having sex with the neighborhood dog walker in the shed in their backyard. It was so unexpected and unbelievable that Agatha completely loses it. She chases the dog walker away with only a tarp to cover her naked body. She finds a hatchet and goes to work destroying the shed while she cries and screams expletives. The neighbors are left aghast at the destruction of the shed and the mess that she continues to leave her yard in.

Most of the book is taken up with the ways in which Agatha finds to spy on her husband and Willow, the dog walker. Turns out that she lives quite close to her, so easy for her to creep around the yard and more. She invests in a great pair of binoculars and even goes so far as to climb a tree in the yard across from the house so that she can see what is going on. 

Agatha is a writer with quite a good following. She had decided that she wanted to write a thriller next because they are so popular. She thinks since people love thrillers, perhaps they will love her more? However since her husband Dex’s desertion she hasn’t been able to work.

There is an online mom’s group which she chats with constantly. Some of the moms are at first supportive but when Agatha’s actions start going towards the “crazy” they begin to turn on her. She doesn’t really care, she just wants someplace to sound out her fury.

Inside however Agatha is despondent, hurt and doesn’t know what to do next. Her husband tells her that he is in love with Willow and that he wants to share custody of their two boys, spending a few days at Willow’s house and the rest with Agatha. She misses her boys desperately.

She has a therapist, whom she calls “shrinky dink”, who seems to know her quite well. She is a bundle of nerves and has no idea how to proceed into this next phase of her life. Her husband has made it clear that he is not coming back.

I did laugh at some of her attempts at spying, they were pretty over the top. However by the halfway point I was getting bored. Since it was an audiobook I just let it play on and the last quarter of the book redeemed itself. 

Agatha finally begins to see that she does have the strength to cope with this disaster and starts to do things that make her feel good. She has a quick tryst, she redecorates the boys rooms and her bedroom. She then goes on to recreate her writing space, getting rid of any remnants of Dex including the desk that he handmade for her. She is beginning to see a way to move forward. The ending of the novel was great because it showed that she was growing and learning, how to make more friends, how to rearrange her life with her boys, maybe even joining her friend and taking yoga for relaxation!

If you are looking for a quick, entertaining listen then this would be a good choice. The narrator I think did a good job with this title.

I received this audiobook from the publisher through NetGalley.
The novel in all of it’s formats is set to publish on November 10, 20
Was this review helpful?
Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything stars Agatha a woman who just had her world turned upside down when she learns her husband is leaving her for the neighborhood dog walker. She is funny and sarcastic and I saw a lot of growth in her the book. However, she was hard for me to like at first. This book reminds me a lot of Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine and This One is Mine by Maria Semple. The audiobook was engaging and not too long, though having social media posts read could be a bit monotonous.
Was this review helpful?
I was excited when I received the advanced copie of Agatha Arch Is Afraid Of Everything on audiobook. I was looking at this book just a few days ago while perusing the month’s releases. But oh boy! did this book test my patience.

Agatha Arch is a happily married woman or so she thought before one day while retrieving her boys ball from the backyard before Susan Sontag, the neighborhood skunk, gets to it she sees her husband Dax and the local dog walker having sex in the shed. In a state of shock and incomprehension, Agatha destroys the shed with the two of them still inside with a a hachet. Don’t worry no cheating party was hurt during this process. 

Her life did a 360 in that moment and Agatha is now forced to face it alone. But Agatha has fears and lots of them.  She will have to take them head on and alone. Besides the help of her shrink, Agatha is now alone. No one comes to comfort or help Agatha get through this. This was probably the saddest part for me. This woman is going through so much but has no one to be by her side cheering and helping her on. Even the local mom Facebook group where Agatha has pretty much ostrisized herself by egging people on is no help.

Let’s go back to the afraid of everything part cause that was not a title leading us on. No, Agatha is afraid of everything. Some of the fears were a bit ridiculous like fava beans because she watched the Silence of the Lamb and the killer would eat them so surely they are evil. Agatha was a complicated character for me. At times I found her out endearing and other times I found her maddening. Let’s just say she didn’t leave me indifferent. As she starts to spy on her husband and his girlfriend I started to question Agatha’s morals. But people do weird things when they are hurting. 

Agatha Arch Is Afraid Of Everything gave us a small window into the life of a woman which’s marriage as ended without her having a say in it. I still enjoyed the book even though at times I did think Agatha was a bit too much. Her quirkiness did win me over by the end.
Was this review helpful?
Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything - from driving on the highway to beans. Yes, beans. Especially Willow Bean, the woman she finds her husband sleeping with and eventually leaves her for. 
This book is laugh-out-loud funny, relatable, and inspiring all at once and manages to be both fun and thought-provoking. 
The narration by Soneela Nankani was fun and made the reading of the lists and responses to the mom's forum especially fun. I highly recommend the audiobook for this one. 

Many thanks to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the advance copy.
Was this review helpful?
This novel was well written and well-read by the narrator. A unique and accessible story, I really enjoyed it. I also very much want to read the book the main character will hopefully write now that her fears are bit more in check and her life is hers to live.
Was this review helpful?
I must admit that I did not like the story at the beginning of this audio; however, I continued listening. This corky but hilarious book did win me over by the end. It tells a story of how we act when bad things happen but sometimes, in the end, it the best thing that could have happened. Great life lesson.
Was this review helpful?