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Life and Other Inconveniences


Life and Other Inconveniences

Set decades after Genevieve London's eight-year-old son, Sheppard, went missing, LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES provides an in-depth look at how that horrific tragedy caused innumerable ripples in so many lives. Even though Genevieve’s immense strength of character allowed her to move on from her unbearable loss by creating her own brand of fashion accessories and home goods, she sorely neglected other areas of her life, including her younger son, Clark, who was only five when Sheppard disappeared. The story, however, mostly revolves around Genevieve herself; her granddaughter, Emma; and her 16-year-old great-granddaughter, Riley. 

The book begins with 85-year-old Genevieve grappling with a serious health condition and asking Emma to leave Chicago, Illinois, and return to Stoningham, Connecticut, for the summer. Sounds like a reasonable request any loving granddaughter would grant, right? But no. Their relationship is much more complicated than that. In fact, Emma hasn’t spoken to her grandmother in 17 years after Genevieve refused to help her with her unplanned pregnancy (aka Riley). Will Emma let bygones be bygones and go home when her grandmother needs her? Does Genevieve deserve Emma's grace in her time of need, even though she didn’t provide Emma the same? 

"Initially, I was drawn in by the adorable swimming dog on the slightly iridescent cover, but the raw, real, honest (and sometimes humorous) prose kept me engaged."

LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES includes many points of view, with each character's personality remarkably distinct and unique. Genevieve is formal and a bit cold. Emma is approachable and down to earth, and I could see myself befriending someone like her. Riley is a high-spirited and kind teenager with a zest for life. Clark is immature and selfish, and definitely suffers from “Peter Pan Syndrome.” And then there is three-year-old Tess Finlay, an unruly yet entertaining toddler who will make you feel better about even your own child’s worst behavior.

The plot itself is complex in the best possible way, providing not only depth of character but also depth of story. There were so many layers and innumerable themes, such as grief, depression, suicide, young love, teenage pregnancy, tricky family dynamics, infertility, parenthood, estranged family, strength of character, mistakes and forgiveness.  

Initially, I was drawn in by the adorable swimming dog on the slightly iridescent cover, but the raw, real, honest (and sometimes humorous) prose kept me engaged. With so many serious issues tackled here, I could have been a blubbering mess, so I loved that it also made me laugh out loud several times, providing levity to the heavy topics. In short, this book is "all kinds of fabulous," and I would most definitely recommend it to those who love emotional family dramas.

Once the story ended, I was sad to leave the characters behind. But I was also consoled by the fact that since this was my first time reading a book by Kristan Higgins, I have nearly 20 others in her backlist to savor and enjoy.

Reviewed by Rebecca Wasniak on August 9, 2019

Life and Other Inconveniences
by Kristan Higgins

  • Publication Date: August 6, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 045148942X
  • ISBN-13: 9780451489425