Review - My Ex-Life: A Novel by Stephen McCauley

My rating:

My Ex-Life: A Novel

My Ex-Life: A Novel
by Stephen McCauley

Tagged: Contemporary

David is having something of a mid-life crisis. Still smarting from the recent end of a relationship with his boyfriend, he then finds out that he's about to lose the sweet rental deal in San Francisco that he's enjoyed for many years. When the daughter of his ex-wife asks for David's help getting into college, which is how he makes his living, it seems a trip to New England, and down memory lane, is just the thing to give him perspective.

“My Ex-Life” is the latest book by an author whose work, although not prolific, is consistent over the years. His books are generally gently paced, with no manufactured drama, reflecting what always feels like a very realistic slice of life. I did not find the book as outrageously funny as some of the blurbs suggest. There are certainly some good lines and funny situations, but the humor is almost always tinged with a hint of melancholy that makes it more bittersweet than laugh-out-loud.

David is a very relatable character. Like many of McCauley's protagonists, he's a bit of an everyman rather than the physically perfect, perpetually young gay men found in most gay fiction. His ex-wife Julie is also very interesting, and over the course of the story, the picture of how these two unlikely individuals came to be married, and then divorced, becomes clear. Julie's daughter Mandy also plays a significant role in the story. Not only is she pivotal in bringing David and Julie together, but her coming-of-age struggle over the coarse of the summer provides much of the drama in the story line as well.

The town of Beauport is also something of a character in itself. We see it largely through the eyes of David, who comes not as a tourist, but as someone who sees it as the typical New England seaside tourist destination that it is. It's a quite unvarnished picture which includes a few colorful townspeople as well.

“My Ex-Life: A Novel” is available from Amazon.

Posted in Book Reviews on Oct 30, 2018

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