We don’t typically review books that have been out for a while, but I’m trying to get caught up on my NetGalley reviews. Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins is one that for some reason, I never got around to reading, and all I can say is better late than never, because this book was so good.
Emma is happy with her life in Chicago. Mostly. She has started a successful career as a therapist, is raising a smart and funny teenage daughter, Riley, and has stuck to her decision to never speak to her grandmother again after she was kicked out of the house for getting pregnant at 18.
But when Genevieve calls and tells her she’s dying of a brain tumor and wants to meet Riley, Emma agrees to return to the Connecticut mansion of her childhood.
The story has multiple narrators but the other main one is Gen, who is still grieving the loss of her golden child, who disappeared without a trace during a father-son trip to the lake over 50 years earlier, and her husband who died shortly after. She’s also experiencing memory lapses, and working out the best way to end her life before she loses who she is.
Additional characters include Miller, whose wife died in childbirth and can’t handle his out-of-control toddler; Riley, happy to be away from her former friends who’ve turned on her like only teenage girls can; Jason, Riley’s father who is estranged from his current wife; and Paul, the grandfather who took Emma in when Gen threw her out.
Life and Other Inconveniences is a novel of forgiveness, as Emma works to forgive Gen and let go of Jason, Miller realizes he needs to stop blaming his daughter for his wife’s death, and Gen learns to forgive herself. The story is both heartwarming and funny, with surprises along the way as what really happened to Sheppard is revealed.