I’ll admit it. I often choose a book by its cover. Can you blame me? There are so many good covers out there now, the new novel My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley is no exception. Bright, colorful, and all over social media, this cover was hard to miss. And reviews like this one from NPR’s Fresh Air, “This is the kind of witty, sparkling, sharp novel for which the verb “chortle’ was invented,” sealed the deal. I knew this needed to be one of my summer reads.
Julie and David used to be married. They used to have relationships with other people. Now they aren’t. But they are still in a serious relationship. With each other.
What if sex and all of the issues and drama that comes with it are removed from a relationship? What does a relationship between a man and a woman look like then? Relationships, deep connections between a man and a woman, soul mates aren’t always what you’d expect.
After David comes out, his marriage to Julie dissolves. Julie moves on to marry again and have a daughter, Mandy. Years later after Julie’s second marriage ends and she finds herself struggling to run an Airbnb out of her home, she reaches out to David, a college counselor, to help Mandy with her college application. Even without the sexual intimacy, Julie and David once again grow close and David finds himself helping with much more than just college applications.
This book is about love and friendship and what relationships can look like when you truly love someone. The characters are all struggling with their own issues, but their love and dependence on one another helps them to become their own version of a family. This was my first novel by this author and I loved McCauley’s writing style. His storytelling was witty and clever, never dull or trite. There’s depth to the story but without the intense emotional weight that can bring you down. McCauley keeps it light even when the subject matters get heavy.
I highly recommend this read!
My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley
Published May 2018 by Flatiron Books
Genre: Literary Fiction
Where I read: In the orthodontist office
Stephenie’s Goodreads Rating: 4 out of 5 stars