What to Read in 2021

It’s only November, but I’m on a mission: Finish my holiday preparations before Thanksgiving. I’m on track so far. All pantry items for holiday dinners have been purchased. Thanksgiving turkey arrives today (gotta love preorders online!) I’m more than half finished with my Christmas gift shopping and everything but one item is wrapped and hidden away, just waiting for the Christmas tree to go up the Friday after Thanksgiving.

That’s my excuse for only reading one book this month. I wish I could say I really liked this one, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. 

As a refresher, I am reading various sub-genres in the Women’s Fiction umbrella in 2021. Here’s the definition of Women’s Fiction: 

Women’s Fiction is an emotionally-driven story focusing on a female main character who is struggling with some aspect of life. A power struggle ensues and by the end of the book, the reader hopes to see the main character stronger, wiser, happier or whatever “—er” you have in mind.

On to the books: 

November pick:

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms read in eBook form. This book falls in the sub genres of  Divorce (which is ironic, because there is no divorce for most of the book) and Mothers & Children Fiction.

Description from Amazon:

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and―with a little encouragement from her friends―a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.

But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.

My Take: 

The premise of the book sounds great for most moms. Take a vacation from your family and focus on you. Get some (uninterrupted) sleep. Take a shower without assistance. Eat something prepared by someone else that didn’t come off of your child’s plate. 

As a mother of three, I remember the days when a night away, even at the Red Roof Inn, sounded like heaven. Raising kids is hard, even when you have a supportive partner (thank you, Hubby!). But there are times it’s draining and exhausting and you want to tap out, if only for a few minutes. 

So I was surprised I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I anticipated. Perhaps it is because I’m too logical. If your husband leaves and says he’s never coming back, why not file for divorce? For me, books are an escape, but I kept thinking about all the complications of not getting divorced. There is no way it would have worked out that smoothly for three years. 

The other thing that jumped out at me is that exercise only gets you so far. Amy’s food and alcohol intake far exceeded what she burned off during her workout sessions. Polishing off a bottle of wine with dinner does not make for a good morning or leave you with enough energy to cycle the way Amy did. Even in a story, calories in equal calories out. 

It was the twist at the end of the book that irritated me more than anything. I won’t spoil it (though the book has been out for two years and I noticed at least one online review that mentions it) but suffice it to say that the real life complication that occurs distracts more than helps the story. I almost put the book down at that point because the twist was so out of the blue. 

There were some good parts to the book. I enjoyed reading about Daniel, Amy’s new boyfriend. He was fun and relatable, although how many male librarians have bodies like an Adonis, I don’t know. (Side note: is a better question how many males in general have that type of body?)

That’s all for November. Based on my current Christmas focus, I think December will entail a holiday book or two. I’ve already started watching holiday movies! Drop me an email at carole@carolewolfe.com if you are interested in getting a round up of the holiday movies I’m watching. !

Until next time…

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash