What do you look for when you read a book? Is the story as a whole? A good character portrayal? Endings that meet your expectations? Or, a combination of all these? As a reader, I do not keep any expectations, especially when I read a book by an author who’s new to me. I do not care much for the story if the character development is good enough.
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler is the story of a single mom who’s overworked, underappreciated and thinks life has given her an orchard full of lemons! When it comes to books of the genre General Fiction/Women’s Fiction, I look for character development. Unlike mysteries, there is no ‘finding the killer’ or ‘using ze grey cells’. But as a reader, I do expect to take away something from the story. Maybe, the character learned from their mistakes, overcame low self-esteem issues or whatever.
I cannot say the same about our Amy Byler. All she does is whine! Whine, whine and more whining until the story ends. Okay, her husband of eighteen years packed his bags and went cavorting with a younger woman, leaving Amy to look after their two kids. Three years later, he’s back. He wants to spend time with his kids and Amy thinks it’s a good idea to take a break and at the same time, make the guy suffer!
Every whine of Amy received an eye roll from me. I was like, for god’s sake, could you please move on or shut up! All right, your husband left you and he slept with a younger woman; your daughter is a teenager with raging hormones while your son is too perfect (and you have an issue with him being perfect!); you get a chance to spend a week in New York while your husband agrees to babysit them. (He’s supposed to be her ex-husband but then he’s not – she learns this three years later. *eye roll*)
So, the first half of the story received a lot of eye rolls from me. Wait, the drama is not over yet. Amy gets to meet her college friend Talia. Talia runs a fashion magazine and before she knows, Amy is in for trend of the year – #Momspringa! Amy is your average something mommy in her forties – wears mom jeans, mismatching tops, clogs and ill-fitting bras. (Amy indirectly blames this on your
ex-husband leaving you?) Then comes the makeover session and voila, introducing the new chick in town – Amy Byler! Nope, the story’s just started. Wait for it!
*The next paragraph contains spoilers*
Amy is not happy. She falls in love with Daniel but wants her to get back with her husband. Her kids are having a fun time with their dad and she feels insecure. What if they don’t need me anymore? *eye roll* Finally, things end. I was like, phew, I am done with the book! Of course, there’s lots of drama before the story ends and it seemed a little far-fetched that things happened so quickly. Amy’s thinking about getting back (or not) with her husband John when she receives a call saying Cori (the daughter) is in the hospital. John acts weird in the hospital and Supermom Amy comes to the rescue *eye roll*. Daniel and Amy had broken up before she left NY but he decides to come over when he hears about Cori. Matt, Talia, Lena are also there. Yay, one big family – John has now fallen asleep in the waiting room while Cori is in the OT. *eye roll* Tadaa, Amy decides to give Daniel another chance and Cori is recuperating well. End of Story.
I know I am venting out my frustration but this has got to do with the poor character portrayal. I really did not mind the ‘whatever’ ending. But we do not see Amy change. She’s still the same old whiny pain-in-the-ass who decided to finally divorce her husband and date Daniel – the daughter’s accident being the eye-opening moment. *eye roll*
Okay, so, I am in the minority when it comes to rating/reviewing this book. My friend Anjana liked the book better than I did. You can read her review here.
I have given this book a rating of 2 on Goodreads. The same holds good here.