Cover Image: Community Board

Community Board

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This might be a case of the right book at the right time, but this was quirky and weird. And it worked for me. How could this be so weird and so deep and heartfelt at the same time? It gave me big Gilmore Girls on mushrooms vibes. I don’t think this will be the right book for everyone but I found myself laughing out loud multiple times. And that doesn’t happen often.

Was this review helpful?

I ADORED Community Board.

It’s weird and quirky and wonderful! I fell in love with the unique characters and the fantastic writing. Definitely a favorite this year!

(The audiobook is excellent!)

Was this review helpful?

Quirky story with an eclectic cast of characters. I’m sort of net neutral on this one. Nothing blew me away, nothing was unpleasant, it just exists.

Was this review helpful?

When Darcy Clipper's life falls apart, she heads to her childhood home in small-town Murbridge, Massachusetts. Other than peeping through her parents' blinds, Darcy's main source of connection with other humans is the internet: emails, checking social media, and keeping tabs on the Murbridge Community Message Board. At first it's her source of entertainment and window into others' lives, but over time, the message board grows into her way to connect with others and gradually step back into a sense of community.

This one is quirky in both tone and structure. It's separated into four sections—one for each season—but lacks other breaks. There aren't numbered chapters. There aren't mid-chapter breaks with little symbols to indicate a pause or passage of time. There aren't quotation marks. Once I got used to the structure, things flowed pretty well for me, but it did take some getting used to.

If you pick this one up, be aware that with that major upheaval in Darcy's life comes depression. She shuts herself off from the world. She's grieving and snarky and salty. And after being closed off for such a long period of time, it takes her time to reacclimate to being around people again. Honestly, this part of the story reminded me of coming back into the world after things shut down for COVID. Darcy seems socially stunted and awkward around people when she reemerges.

The Murbridge Community Board itself is so representative of what you see on sites and apps like Facebook and Nextdoor. You get the good, the bad, the petty, and the ridiculous. Some of the posts had me laughing out loud.

And I adored the characters that brought Darcy back out of her shell. She needed them, and they needed her. Their friendships provided her with both found family opportunities and a new perspective on her life.

Overall, this book was different from what I typically read, but I enjoyed it.

I received an advance copy from Book Club Girl, Mariner Books, and NetGalley. All review opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

The community board posts are the most interesting thing about this book, which follows a middling millennial floundering after a breakup in a way that was more annoying that endearing. DNF.

Was this review helpful?

Community Board is quirky, funny, and completely relatable for anyone who has ever lived in a neighborhood. Darcy is 29 and returns home to Murbridge, Massachusetts after her husband leaves her. The book is told through Darcy’s point of view in conjunction with emails and neighborhood community board postings. A feel-good read that will leave you smiling. A great vacation read!

Thank you to Mariner Books and NetGalley for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Community Board

Thank you, Partner @bibliolifestyle @marinerbooks for my copy of Community Board!

Community Board’s main character, Darcy, has fallen into a black hole of despair. Her husband has left her, and she’s moved into her parent’s house to lick her wounds.
She’s shocked to find that they are away, and she decided that she won’t be communicating with the outside world.
Except of course, for her town’s online message board. There she reads about the trials and tribulations of her neighbors and works to decide if she’ll ever join the outside world again.
Darcy was very hard to like, but Community Board is a quick read with some slap-stick fun at the end.

Was this review helpful?

Unfortunately, this one didn't work for me. I didn't really like the main character and I didn't connect with the story line.

Was this review helpful?

Well, this book was definitely one of the more unique contemporary novels that I've read recently...if ever! In this character driven novel, we meet Darcy, right as her husband Skip is leaving her for another woman. It's nothing personal, k byeeee he offers as he hops into his mistresses car and drives off into the sunset, leaving Darcy shocked and alone.

She turns to the two people that have supported her and lifted her up for her entire life, Mom and Daddy, only to show up to her childhood home with her tail tucked between her legs, ready to let her parents make it all better, only....well, it's just the small matter of them having picked up and moved to Arizona without a word. Curses! What does a girl have to do to get some shoulders to lean on around here?!

So starts the beginning of Darcy's journey of solitude and canned food. She wants nothing to do with people, be they husbands, mistresses, parents, neighbors, exboyfriend's parents, policemen, nada. Just her and her cans and her black bedroom walls until the end of time...or until her self-imposed solitude starts making her mental walls come crashing down or she just eventually loses her mind, whichever comes first. There is also the matter of her dwindling can collection, her eventual need for funds in order to feed herself, and the fact that she's been talking to her old fern that doesn't even reside in the house anymore, and that can't be a good sign, now can it? And so, Darcy ventures out into the world again...

So, if you can't tell yet, this book was ridiculous and really funny at times. Darcy cracks me up just as much as I want to shake her, but I loved it. I don't mind a good character driven novel, and the fact that there are no quotation marks to signify conversation really just puts us more in Darcy's shoes and makes all other characters seem like a secondary part in Darcyland. I enjoyed reading for the most part, but this novel draaaaaaagggggged quite a bit for me. It look me much longer to finish than it should have because I had to keep putting it down, un-boreding myself, and then finally picking it backup again.

LOVED the emails from the Mom, Darcy's inner musings were hilarious and cracked me up, and I adored Marcus, Omar, and Franny. The abrupt ending didn't seem to have any point at all, unless that was an error with the uncorrected copy that I received. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!

Was this review helpful?

When Darcy’s life gets turned upside down, she does what many do…she decides to go home. But when she gets to her hometown of Murbridge, she doesn’t find it to be the way she expected. New people in town, and a community message board that’s quite active…not to mention the bickering. Darcy seeks a fresh start, but finds herself digging deeper into her roots.

This book is part a rediscovery for Darcy, and part social commentary on small town gossip and drama. If you’ve never lived in a small town or community like this, you may wonder if people actually seem to get in everyone else’s business like this, but for those who have it might paint a familiar picture!

I found this book to be a bit long and scattered, which was much the way of Darcy’s brain. However, all the extra pieces provided a quirkiness, even if seemingly unnecessary to the story. I enjoyed the way the ending came together, and the lessons learned by Darcy and the other characters.

Thank you to NetGalley and Mariner Books for an Advanced Copy of this book!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the author Tara Conklin, publishers Mariner Books, and as always NetGalley, for an advance digital copy of COMMUNITY BOARD.

Darcy Clipper experiences a big breakup at the devestating age of 30, so she returns home, to Murbridge, to the place that has to take her and always remain familiar. Only when she gets there, of course, things have changed. For one thing, the community board has moved online, and now she spends all her time reading about her neighbors' complaints and requests. Should she get involved? Could she help? She begins to see opportunity for her own fulfillment mixed in with the posts.

The main character Darcy is the type I call the "delightful mess." She's heavily flawed, sometimes obnoxiously so, but someone those flaws wind up working out in her favor. She has minor conflicts with several other equally quirky residents of the towns in order to resolve the book's primary concern, which she discovers, of course, on the community board.

Speaking of conflict, the plot was a little flat. The story was exciting enough, but it was carried me all the individual characters' stories stirring things up.

The town, Murbridge, Massachusetts, is full of wacky and charming characters who have nothing better to do than harangue each other on the online community board. And yet they pull together when they need to, I mean, when can I move there? In a way, the town is the main character.

Rating: 📌📌📌.5 / 5 thumb tacks
Recommend? Yes
Finished: April 4 2023
Read this if you like:
💜 Elery Adams
🔎 Cozy mysteries
🏘 Small towns
🌄 Redemption stories

Was this review helpful?

My first Tara Conklin book - I will definitely read more!

What I loved about the book:
1. The quirky characters. They made me laugh!
2. The community which helps Darcy heal!
3. The off beat humor - I laughed out loud!

What I didn't like:
1. The first 30% of the book is about Darcy and her self pity....way too long - we get it - she is sad. I almost didn't finish the book but pushed past the first part and was happy I did but really didn't like the first part of the book.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Mariner Books for the digital review copy of this novel.

Was this review helpful?

In Community Board Darcy returns to her hometown of Murbridge after her life implodes — She’s been dumped by her husband then loses her job. When she arrives, she finds her parents have taken off to give life a shot out in Arizona. Darcy spends a lot of time isolated in the house, consuming canned food, and wondering where to go from here.

Murbridge has changed since Darcy was last here, and the community message board is a constant flurry of activity — Monthly board meetings and maintenance reminders, babysitting inquiries, pet owner accusations and lost pets, mysterious messages to “Darling”, and more. Darcy engages with some of these posts, allowing her to connect with others in Murbridge.

Community Board started off as an amusing story but lost steam. While I could sympathize with the heartbreak and upending of her life, I found Darcy quite immature for a woman approaching 30 years old. I thought the community message board posts were entertaining but as a whole I hoped to enjoy the book more than I did.

Was this review helpful?

This is a story of a 29 year old moving back to her childhood home after her husband cheats on her. I enjoyed the overall theme/concept of this book but I did not enjoy Darcy wallowing in her self pity for pages and pages of this novel. One or two chapters could have covered her months of wallowing. What I did enjoy was the quirky characters in the small town of Murbridge many introduced into the story via Community Board post, which was clever and funny. The ending of the book, while predicable, was great and redeemed the book for me.

Was this review helpful?

Unfortunately this book was not for me and I couldn’t finish it, which I can’t recall ever happening before.

Maybe the book was supposed to be exaggerated and funny, but I could not take it seriously because people do not behave the way the characters in this book do. I also find it unpleasant to read a first person narrative of a woman who is falling apart like this.

But you will never convince me that a nearly 30 year old woman whose mother called her ‘Bunny’ (her given name is Darcy) and who refers to her father as Daddy would go home to them after her marriage ends only to learn they’ve moved to Arizona without telling her.

And you will never convince me that a boss will offer a six month leave and then renege on it in a ridiculous email.

I don’t know who this book was for, but it’s not me. I’m giving it a generous 3 stars in the off chance it would have improved if I stuck with it but there are too many books to be read to force myself to stomach this one.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Mariner Books for an advanced copy of Community Board.

This could have been an interesting book but it wasn't really my cup of tea. Darcy's husband has just left her and she runs to her parent's house to find out they've gone to Arizona for a year (without telling her). So she takes an unplanned isolation to try to figure out her life.

I couldn't take Darcy. She had zero emotional skills to solve any of her life problems and while maybe some might find her "growth" I was annoyed and couldn't believe she could be that helpless.

I should have DNFd this book.

Was this review helpful?

The plot may be a common one—a woman who was just broken up with by her partner deals with the emotional upheaval by shutting down & eventually finding her new self—but the different ways authors approach it are what make readers enjoy the stories.

In her new novel, Tara Conklin leans heavily on humor & quirkiness to relate how Darcy Clipper, a sheltered 29-year-old, ends up coming out of a depression & using people in her hometown community of Murbridge, MA, to build her up after her husband Skip leaves her for another woman.

After retreating to her childhood home in Murbridge (and realizing her parents have up & moved to a retirement community in AZ without telling her), Darcy stays holed up in the house, eating canned food from her parent's pantry & getting her only "human" interaction from the funny, rude, sad, and intriguing messages the other residents of the town leave on the community message board. She also talks to Fred, the fern she had growing up—which is no longer in her house.

At first it's endearing and funny, but then it just becomes a bit too frivolous—all without much serious emotional reflection and change. I felt bad for Darcy, but, more often, I lost emotional investment in her challenges because of the constant community board postings, drafted emails, and chatting with phantom plants. I felt horrible for her, but I couldn't get too emotionally attached to her journey since she seemed to default to humor instead of actual emotional assessment and change.

I really wanted to love this one—but, unfortunately, I didn't. As a main character, Darcy just seemed too one-dimensional. The story does have its moments of humor and heart, but somehow it didn't gel together to be a completely satisfying read or even a distinct take on a well-worn but still viable girl-loses-partner-but-finds-herself narrative.

Was this review helpful?

Community Board, by Tara Conklin, was both a fun and occasionally laugh-out loud funny novel about a 30-year-old who returns to the town she grew up in when she is left by her husband for another woman. Nonetheless, it was also tedious. I had the sense that the protagonist sort of reveled in her abandonment by both spouse and parents. It also seemed to go on and on and on... This might make an entertaining movie as the supporting characters are interesting and funny. Thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for the opportunity to read an electronic ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Many thanks to NetGalley and Mariner Books for gifting me a digital ARC of the latest book by Tara Conklin - 4.5 stars!

Darcy has returned to her parents' house in Murbridge, MA, after her husband suddenly left her for another woman. Then she finds out her parents moved to Arizona without telling her to try out a retirement village. Darcy can't bother to go to work, get dressed, or shower. She begins eating the stored food in her parents' basement so she doesn't have to go out. She becomes involved reading Community Board (similar to Next Door) and getting involved in the internet threads.

This is a light-hearted book with a big message - we are social creatures and we need each other. Darcy certainly wallowed in her misery and social anxiety, but she was always trying to help too. I loved the way the story spooled out - we get Darcy's POV, but also read the draft emails she never sends to her ex, the emails she does send to her parents, Darcy's interpretations of National Geographic profiles, and all those crazy, quirky Community Board posts. Darcy meets a big cast of interesting characters in her journey and you'll fall in love with some of them. Great read!

Was this review helpful?

When I first read Conklin's The House Girl, I knew she would be a writer I would love. I have The Last Romantics waiting for me on my kindle, and can honestly say after reading Community Board, she is most definitely an author that I love.

Community Board follows the story of Darcy, whose husband leaves her for his skydiving instructor. She decides to head back to her childhood home in Western Mass, figuring some TLC from her parents would help her. She arrives finding they've moved to Arizona without telling her. From there, she hunkers down and begins her self-imposed isolation, complete with canned goods from her parent's cellar.

I loved that Conklin took what are tough subjects; grief, depression, and divorce, and turned it into a quirky and beautiful story of someone trying to figure out who she is, what she wants out of life, and realizing what she wants in the world. I adored the characters. They came to life off the page. Not to mention, the community boards post themselves to tell a story.

I also loved that it was set in Western Mass, where I spent four years during college. Westfield is even mentioned a few times, and it was super fun to see.

Definitely a great read! 4.5/5 stars
Thank you Mariner Books and NetGalley for the eARC!

Was this review helpful?