Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book 3: The Fallback Plan by Leigh Stein

I'm attempting to read and review 100 Books in 2013. You can read all about The 100 Books Project here.

The Fallback Plan is fantastic. Fantastic. I read it in three days on my Kindle. I just devoured this novel. It was so much fun to read.

The novel is about a college graduate, Esther, who, after spending her last semester of college in a mental health ward, graduates and then moves back in with her parents. Her mother gets her a job babysitting for the Browns, a family who lost their youngest child earlier that year. Esther spends her time getting to know the family, both by interacting with them and by snooping around their house. Interspersed in the narrative are scenes from The Littlest Panda, the screenplay Esther tells people she is working on when she is actually daydreaming about her friend Jack.

Although she is clinically depressed, Esther's voice is humorous through the novel. She makes the reader laugh even as she is obsessing over the dead baby of the family that she works for. Not that the novel makes light of the death -- there are many sad, serious moments in the novel as well. 

The pacing is done well, you're never in one scene long enough to get bored with it. There were a few moments I wished had been drawn out longer, but part of Esther's charm is that even in the tense moments where she claims to be having an anxiety attack, she manages to keep moving forward. She never dwells on one moment longer than she has to. 

You know a book is good when the only criticism I can come up with is that I wish it were longer. This book is smart and funny. It captures your attention and holds you there until you're finished reading. I am recommending this book to all of my friends.

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