Friday, September 25, 2020

Family Drama Offers Compelling Story and Relatable Characters

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Meredith Parker's twins have been away at college for four years, but she's still getting used to the idea of having an empty nest.  Their upcoming graduation has her feeling especially unmoored.  It doesn't help that their graduation celebration will involve spending extended time with her ex-husband and his very young fiancée.  While Meredith and her husband, Roger, vow to be on their best behavior and make the most of their weekend away, no one can guarantee that sparks won't fly.  Especially when each member of the family is harboring their own secrets ... 

If the plot for Best Behavior by Wendy Francis seems a little thin, that's because it is.  The novel is more episodic than structured, something I usually dislike because it creates stories that are unfocused, meandering, and often boring.  Not so with Best Behavior.  There's enough drama going on that the tale never gets dull.  The characters are well-drawn, each with realistic flaws and insecurities.  I might not have liked all of them, but I could relate to each on some level.  Overall, I enjoyed the novel although I can't say I loved it.  

A funny:  I did get a good laugh out of the fact that the twins' graduation supposedly takes place in Spring 2020—and it proceeds as normal with an in-person ceremony, no face masks, no social distancing, and not one mention of COVID-19.  Since I read an e-ARC of the book, it's possible the year was changed in the final printing of the book. 

(Readalikes:  Hm, no specific titles are coming to mind.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (one F-bomb, plus milder expletives), mild sexual content, and depictions of illegal drug use and the abuse of prescription drugs

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Best Behavior from the generous folks at HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. A new book for me.

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    1. You're welcome! I hope you enjoy it if you read it :)

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  2. I bet that date was changed. I've read of several authors who were writing their books to be set in 2020 and backed up the date to 2019 or 2018. This whole situation will present a definite issue for authors that write in present day setting. Historicals maybe no so much. Ha!

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    1. I'll have to find a published copy of the book and see if they changed it. 2020 has been such a weird and unpredictable year - no one could have anticipated all this would happen!

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  3. It is definitely funny the way COVID has impacted our normal lives to the point that we recognize it in books. I'd be very interested to see if that little detail was changed.

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  4. That is funny about the spring graduation; it definitely couldn't have happened like that in 2020. :p

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  5. Books set in 2020 are like TV shows and movies that I watch now: I find myself thinking "why aren't they wearing masks? Why are they so close to each other?! :-)

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  6. I enjoy episodic type books but only if they are done very very well and this sounds like it was well done. It is kind of crazy to think of a world with no masks and social distancing but I think last year if someone had told me we'd all be wearing masks and all the other stuff I would have thought they were nuts!

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  7. I totally agree with your thoughts Susan. I read this one and didn't pick up on the 2020 graduation thing. It was entertaining, but not memorable.

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