My Ex-Life

My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley (The Object of My Affection) explores an unusual relationship between a gay man and his ex-wife with wit and wisdom. David rents a carriage house with amazing views in San Francisco and enjoys his career, helping teens apply to colleges. He has felt at loose ends, though, since breaking up with his partner. To make matters worse, his landlord is selling the house, which means David has to move.

In a seaside town on the East Coast, David's ex-wife, Julie, is also struggling in mid-life. Her new ex-husband wants to sell the big house she loves. He's also threatening to fight for custody of their teen daughter, Mandy. Julie is renting out rooms on Airbnb in the house to make some extra money, but things are getting desperate. When she calls David, after 20 years apart, to ask him to help Mandy with her college applications, he jumps at the chance. It's just the kind of change he needs. Soon, the three of them are living together in the big house, along with an odd assortment of paying guests.

McCauley has a remarkable talent for telling a story filled with insights into human behavior and laced with plenty of humor. For instance, Mandy describes her friend like this: "Lindsay considered herself a 'romantic,' which meant she was a Disney princess who'd read her mother's copy of Fifty Shades of Grey." This fun, clever story about a postmodern permutation of family is also warm and perceptive. --Suzan L. Jackson, freelance writer and author of Book By Book blog

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