Cover Image: Community Board

Community Board

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This is a difficult book to review. I can see that it will appeal to a certain audience with its small-town setting, quirky characters and notes of humor, but it was not that appealing a book for me. I have wanted to read this author for a while, but this was the first of her novels that I read. I would try her others as they have received quite positive reviews.

Darcy is an almost 30-year-old actuary who falls apart when her husband leaves her for another woman. She returns to her parent's home in small-town Massachusetts, discovering that her parents have moved to Arizona without telling her. This struck me as odd. This might be typical of a younger generation that their parents shield them from any disappointment, but I found it odd how her parents failed to tell her of their move.
Darcy walks around in her pajamas, eating old, canned food and reading old issues of National Geographic.

Eventually she needs money and hits upon what I thought was the highlight of the novel, searching for losts pets posted on the community message board and receiving reward money. But then she takes a job as a playground equipment tester and meets Marcus, a stay-at-home father of 3 married to a fund manager. Marcus and Darcy are both lacking friendship and quickly bond, although Darcy still often leaves the house in her pajama bottoms. Darcy also becomes friends with Police Officer Omar who stops by her parent's house to check if she is there legally after a complaint from a neighbor. Darcy also meets nursing home resident Fanny on a search for a lost cat.

I love stories of found families and also enjoy the charm of small towns where concerned neighbors leave baked goods for you, but this story tried too hard to be profound about life and did not succeed. All the references to philosophers in the magazine articles added little. And the big conflict over the playground was not that compelling.

In all, it was a light read and best suited to those who like quirky characters, small-town settings, and identify with protagonists whose parents think it is okay to shield them from
disappointment by not telling them they moved. A true 3 star rating.

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An enjoyable, well written novel that although light hearted is rooted in some of the social media truths of today

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I almost didn't finish this one. Main character Darcy Clipper is, at the start of the book, a whiny and self-absorbed young woman. However, once Tara Conklin combined isolation, loneliness, old National Geographic magazines, and Chef Boyardee, I kept going!
Darcy has it all: great husband, dream job, house, lots of friends, everything she always wanted. Then her husband leaves her and Darcy falls apart, crying through her days until she decides to return to her hometown so her retired parents can take care of her. Her parents, however, surprise her and Darcy isolates herself in her parents' house until she eventually needs to reach out. Readers follow along as she rediscovers her hometown.
The ending may be a little too pat, but it's still a fun read as we watch Darcy come back to life.
Thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy for review.

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Reading stories of adults tucking their tails between their legs and returning to their childhood home are no longer odd storylines. But we got used to "the return home" plot because of divorce or an ailing parent. If you read a lot of women's fiction, you learn that no one is capable of caring for themselves after a divorce. Now, in the novels hitting shelves since lockdown, we are learning that male or female there are a number of reasons you might need to retreat to your muddled high school years and go back home to live.
As with Darcy, you tell yourself —it isn't forever—it's just until i get my groove back, look for a better job, maybe finally take a vacation...then I will go back to the adult life I had, and all will be better.
BUT in most cases as Darcy teaches us in "Community Board, " hiding at home is the dame wherever that is. It is outside, your community that can breathe new ideas into you as you too can be the little spark your neighborhood needs to see things a little differently.
The Community Board has some subtle and not so subtle, news and requests posted. Darcy, at first just being nosy, realizes that a lot of issues can be solved if the right people communicated. I mean it is obvious, Community and communication have COMMON ground. Get started, by meeting Darcy and her neighbors.

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There was a lot of funny, authentic material in the second half of Community Board, but its dreary first half and undeveloped character kept me from really enjoying it.

Darcy, the 29-year-old main character whose husband leaves her to kick off the story, spends two months sitting alone in her parents' house, eating canned chick peas and reading old issues of National Geographic. While this is perhaps realistic, it is uninteresting, and I would have preferred to spend those pages learning more about Darcy's married life and personality. The information we are given turns Darcy into a cipher with an uninteresting (to her and us) job and no close friends. Even her grief over the end of her marriage is more surprise and confusion than actual heartbreak. Worst of all, Darcy doesn't seem to actively want anything - personally, professionally, or romantically - which means that until she gets out of the house there is really no reason to keep turning pages.

Fortunately, she does eventually leave the house, helping neighbors find lost pets and build backyard playscapes in exchange for grocery money. The second half of the book is quirky and entertaining and even, toward the end, heartwarming. starts to care about the world she lives in and the people around her, possibly for the very first time. But the story is still less compelling than it could be because there is no sense of who the main character was before she entered it or how the new life she builds at the start of her thirties is different than the one she lived in her twenties.

First half: 2 stars (well-written but bloodless)
Second half: 4 stars (interesting but not compelling)
Overall: 3 stars

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Darcy is having a hard year. Her life has for all intents and purposes fallen apart so she heads home to Murbridge, Massachusetts to eat an endless supply of canned food, paint her room black, and be generally miserable. Until she begins using the online community board and finding her own version of community. This is an airy, quirky story that meanders in a lot of different directions and feels pretty heartwarming at its core. I liked the included posting from the community board quite a bit - it really gives you a sense of the Murbridge residents. It did, however, feel slow and I wonder if the beginning should have been more tightly edited so you get to the “action” earlier. A good lighthearted read with a unique main character.

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A relaxing and well paced read. Darcy was grating at times, super selfish and clueless. But the story worked in the end. I do love a story set in a small quirky town.

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Community Board by Tara Conklin was unfortunately a miss for me. I was expecting a feel good, cozy story rooted in community and connection but instead it was solely focused on miserable Darcy, a character that was extremely hard to root for or sympathize with. From the first chapter I felt like the authors version of a 30 year old character was super off base - Darcy and her friends / partner seemed so much older and unrecognizable to me, a 30 year old, which created a disconnection that I couldn't come back from.

Bummed about this one but I am sure there will be a ton of readers who feel differently! Thank you to Netgalley and Mariner Books for the ARC - Community Board is out 3/28/23.

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I was not a fan of this book stopped reading about halfway through the first chapter. Her husband leaves her causing her to sublet her condo and go t her parents but they're not there so she gets upset. This book wasn't for me. I wasn't a fan of the character nor the writing. DNF

*******************************I received an ARC for my honest opinion from NetGalley.*************************************

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Community Board is about a 29 year old woman, Darcy, who is left by her husband. She can’t pull herself together so she returns home and her parents aren’t there! This pulls her into a deeper depression and wallows in self-pity. She anonymously scrolls through the Community Board and this is where the book gets a little more interesting.

It took a long time for me to get into this book, and even though I ended up enjoying it, it took too long for me to get to the enjoyable part. Thank you to NetGalley and Mariner for the ARC in an exchange for an honest review of Community Board that publishes on March 28, 2023.

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After 29-year-old Darcy’s husband leaves her for his sky-diving instructor, her boss grants her a leave of absence to heal, so she heads to her small-town childhood home. Meanwhile, her parents have gone to Arizona, so she relies on their canned goods supply to hide until a series of small jobs forces her to meet people and the online community board engages her gift for repartee.

This quirky, zany, comic novel is a treat that differs from Conklin’s previous books.

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An innovative plot with inconsistent execution. A recently divorced woman sets out on a journey of self imposed isolation and works to get her life back on track. Stream on consciousness, reflective, primarily character driven. There isn't much to propel the story along. Overall a thought provoking read that would a good pick for book club.

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It's 2019 and Darcy's world has fallen apart. One day her husband Skip tells her he wants a divorce and walks out the door. After dealing with her non-stop crying fits, her boss recommends she takes a six-month sabbatical, Darcy has nowhere to go but home. When she arrives in Murbridge, her family home is abandoned. Turns out her parents moved to Arizona and never told her. Darcy hunkers down in self-imposed isolation, eating her mother's canned goods collection, her only entertainment Murbridge's online community board. She's intrigued by the stories within the posts and finds herself wanting to know more, maybe even leave the house...

Readers will find themselves as intrigued as Darcy by the strange community board, What is going on with the soup lady? While Darcy might come off as spoiled and entitled, her journey feels like a triumph. Major depression and anxiety are her world. The journey she takes and the connections she makes help readers root for her.

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This was a fun and quirky novel. I didn't care much for Darcy, she was annoying, but the community board was entertaining. I liked the pacing of the novel overall.

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Super cute and easy to read story. The main character is a hoot and some parts will leave you laughing out loud. Great weekend or pool side type of book.

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This is really disjointed and not nearly as funny as it thinks it is. DNF at the 50 percent mark. I was hoping for a quirky book about community. I would have settled for a darkly funny book about a woman checking out of the life she was supposed to live. What I got was a manic hodge-podge of scenes that didn't seem to be going anywhere.

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Oof, I had high hopes for this based on the title and premise, but it REALLY missed the mark for me. Darcy's husband announces he's leaving her, so she goes to her childhood home in Murbridge, Massachusetts to regroup - but ends up becoming a recluse, subsisting on her parents' oversupply of canned food and entertaining herself by reading the neighborhood online community board. And then... a whole lot of nothing happens. Darcy wallows for the majority of the book, and the stream-of-consciousness writing style made the conversations a bit hard to follow. I wanted to give up about a quarter of the way in, but reviews said it picked up; unfortunately, it really didn't. Darcy's dysfunction was really frustrating, and the narrative wasn't helped by the inclusion of dozens of National Geographic articles she was reading in her boredom, which I eventually started skimming over. The small town drama was interesting, and I wish the book had focused more on that / the community board for which the novel is titled, but Darcy was pathetic and frustrating and even the ending wasn't at all satisfying. My biggest regret is that I kept reading rather than giving up when I realized this wasn't my cup of tea.

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Cute, but not very deep story of a woman getting her life back together after divorce. Quick read, but took a bit to really get going plot-wise.

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COMMUNITY BOARD, author Tara Conklin’s newest novel, is engaging on many levels but suffers from inconsistent pacing. Darcy, the almost-30 year old, suddenly single protagonist reminded me most often of Hannah Horvath from GIRLS. She is an only child of two helicopter parents and has never weathered a single life stumble on her own. Faced with an impending divorce, she heads to her parents’ home, expecting their omnipresent care only to learn they are AWOL; she barricades herself in their empty house and falls apart. The vast middle of the book is by turns wonderful and annoying in almost equal parts. Darcy struggles to cope and uses the neighborhood resources in fascinating and self-serving ways. Not all of the various side stories are worth the effort for readers to follow. The ending is perfect. The book is well worth reading and very good. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

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Community Board is a breezy, quirky story of a 29-year old woman named Darcy who, after finding herself at one of the lowest points of her life, learns how to overcome her fears and anxieties to embrace the community around her and ultimately finds a place of healing, found family, faith in humanity and self-acceptance.

I enjoyed this book overall, but it did take me quite awhile to get there. The plot really seemed to drag for the first ~30% or so, and Darcy was really hard to like in the way that she just did really nothing but wallow in her self-pity. Her “self-imposed isolation” alone in her childhood home started out amusing enough as she feasted on canned foods and read every old edition of National Geographic she could find, but ultimately I was bored with it fairly quickly and was just ready for her to get her life together and move on.

Once that happened though, the story picked up a bit and we were introduced to the most delightful side-characters that Darcy meets through reading/posting on the town’s Community Board and by getting out to get to know those around her. The cast of characters was entertaining and I really enjoyed getting to know all of their unique personalities through their interactions with Darcy - they ultimately made the story what it was for me, and I just wish we got to know them sooner! I also really enjoyed the structure of the book - in addition to Darcy’s point of view as a large part of the narrative, we also get more of the story through emails (both sent/received and drafts) and posts on the Community Board. It was definitely a “swing-up” book with an ending that felt like a warm hug with some excellent messages on how although it can be scary to open up to those around us, it can end up leading to beautiful and meaningful connections and a fulfilling feeling of life in general.

Overall, even though this one was very slow to start and it took me much longer than I’d typically like to warm up to an eccentric main character, it was an enjoyable read. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an uplifting story of found family, but also willing to work to get there. Thank you so much to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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