It’s hard to sum up a book like Nice To Come Home To. I feel the snarky coming out, but . . . Rebecca Flowers’ novel about a 30-something realizing her life has gone awry isn’t terribly original. I mean, what women’s fiction fan hasn’t seen this plot before? Woman frets over aging alone; woman winds up with immature boyfriend who isn’t good enough for her, but somehow she is still the one left behind; woman worries that, unlike her many friends, she’s unmarried and childless during her prime child-bearing years.
I wish I could say that Nice To Come Home To defined my expectations and ultimately won me over, but it really didn’t. The more I think about it, the more amorphous and nondescript it becomes. Despite reading it just two weeks ago, I couldn’t really any of the fine details when I sat down to write this review. I remembered the protagonist lived in Washington, D.C., which turned out to be my favorite part about the story. And that she comes to house a cat that initially hated her.
Beyond that? Nothing much.
So the breakdown is basically this: after losing both her job and boyfriend, Pru Whistler is wondering what has become of the orderly life she once cherished. Gone are the days she could “work” on Rudy, her cute but lackluster boyfriend, and her tiny apartment in D.C. is starting to feel like a prison cell.
Unsure of what her next step should be, Pru reaches out to her sister Patsy, an irresponsible but big-hearted single mother. Her support helps put her on a path toward change, but she doesn’t expect to meet and fall for John, a separated cafe owner who takes pity on her during a moment of need.
Some things happen, changes occur, etc. and so forth. Pru was a character who never much endeared herself to me, and much of the novel read like a whiny woman more interested in lamenting the past and pitying herself than trying to make legitimate changes. I guess that could read as “realistic” fiction, but we all have enough of our own issues. It wasn’t entertaining or enlightening. Unlike other books where the narrator struggles but ultimately reclaims her sense of self, I felt like Pru wallowed for so long that I ceased being interested in what happened to her.
Again: realistic, sure. But not very much fun to read.
Patsy irked the tar out of me, too, but I won’t even get into all that. She and her instant looooove connection with a guy she met on the Metro had me rolling my eyes so hard. The fact that she had a child to drag into that mess was scary, and she goes onto the long list of Characters I Would Very Much Like To Slap.
Verdict? Meh. I’d initially liked the story enough to call it a 3-star read, but my feelings have cooled off since finishing. I liked that Nice To Come Home To was set in D.C., which is initially why I bought the book; references to many local spots was fun to see. I enjoyed the landmark references and could visualize much of the story. But though I finished (I did!), it isn’t a book I’ll remember clearly down the road. In fact — I already don’t.
2.5 out of 5!