Stephen McCauley * Flatiron Books * May 8, 2018 * 324 Pages
David and Julie’s brief marriage ended decades ago, right after Julie discovered David having an affair…with the husband of one of their good friends. Both went their separate ways and moved on to different relationships. Julie married and had a daughter, Mandy. But all these years later, David and Julie are both going through a rough patch. David’s partner has left him for a younger man, and Julie is in the middle of a contentious divorce that’s about to leave her financially drained and possibly homeless. She also may or may not be hitting the gonge a little too hard…
When Mandy discovers some old pictures of her mom and David, Julie is forced to tell Mandy about this part of her past. Intrigued by David and hopeful that he might help her mom become a bit more stable, Mandy decides to invite David to stay with them for a few weeks. Soon, the three form a sweet, albeit unconventional, family unit, and, over time, they are forced to lean on each other as drama unfolds and secrets are revealed.
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What a great book. From start to finish, I was absolutely drawn in to the lives of these characters. Julie and David, especially, are wonderful—so full and flawed and richly-developed. I enjoyed seeing their relationship progress over time; even though it was unique, it was still totally believable. Mandy is also an interesting character. I don’t know that I really fell in love with her at any point, but I still empathized with her. Her storyline gets a little weird and unconvincing toward the end, but, thankfully, author McCauley reins it in just in time.
Mostly I just appreciate that My Ex-Life is a fun, easy, relatable, and quirky read. The story moves along, the characters entertain, and I finished the book feeling content and happy. It really was a pleasure to read, and I’m already looking forward to Stephen McCauley’s next book.
Thank you to Flatiron Books and Net Galley for the advanced reader copy!