Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Review: Things You've Inherited From Your Mother by Hollie Adams

When your mother dies, what do you do? Do you collapse in grief? Do you start drinking even more? Do you make blunder after blunder? Do you think about writing a self-help book to help others through grief despite the train wreck you seem to be making of your own life? If you are Carrie, in Hollie Adams' inappropriately hilarious new novel, Things You've Inherited From Your Mother, you do all of the above.

When Carrie's mother dies of ovarian cancer, Carrie spirals into her worst self--funny, passive-aggressive, snarky, and lost. She drinks wine more excessively than before. She shows up at her mother's funeral looking like a street walker. She's fighting a silent fight (and most likely losing) with Poncho, her mother's cat, who she grudgingly inherited. She's driving her teenaged daughter Kate more crazy than usual. She's determined to show her ex-husband how wrong he was to divorce her, despite her inability to have anything go right when she's in his presence. Her job is not terribly fulfilling and when she gets back from her two day compassionate leave, she is startled to find a new dress code in place, one with which she disagrees, so she takes to wearing unwashed sweats to work everyday; they are not expressly forbidden as jeans are. She shunts her live-in boyfriend into the category of "things I'll deal with later," actively neglecting their lackluster relationship. In short, she is in a full on protest against everything in her life.

The narrative is not straightforwardly traditional, instead being shot through with lists of things, Choose Your Own Adventure blurbs, startling interjections that need to be highlighted, to-do lists, and the occasional end message from a video game to which Carrie's addicted. Adams uses a second person narration that makes the readers feel as if they are being addressed as Carrie's friend and while this takes a little getting used to in the beginning, it works as Carrie's mid-life crisis, perhaps precipitated by her mother's death but perhaps always in the offing, spread eagles across the page. Grief is funny and that is no doubt true here but there is also the breath of sorrow underlying all of the funny bits as well. As we laugh at Carrie's inappropriateness, we also sympathize with her unacknowledged vulnerability. But it's by no means sad, because, well Carrie is plain old over the top zany. This is a quick read and it is pure comedy gold if you have a fondness for bumbling heroines bent on self-sabotage.

For more information about Hollie Adams and the book, follow the rest of the blog tour or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.


  1. I can always use some comedy gold - I'll definitely be picking this one up!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. Full protest: that's an interesting way of putting it! Makes sense. I really appreciated the way that her difficulties expressed themselves slightly differently in each instance, be it her workplace or her friendships/relationships. It's a read that will stay with me, I think.


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