A refreshingly honest, laugh-out-loud novel about losing the life you always wanted…and finding the life you were meant to have.
For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons’s biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.
When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor—all day, every day.
But it’s in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become…or the trophy life she left behind.
Authentic and sharply witty, Trophy Life is proof that granny panties and mom coats might not be the answer to everything; they’re simply comfortable (if slightly unattractive) reminders of what happens when one life ends…and real life begins.
From the title, blurb and cover I fully expected lighthearted chick lit. This was so much more. It was delightful, introspective, and meaningful.
This is not to say that chick lit is shallow or meaningless. Those stories often have engaging plots and almost always show great character growth. It's a very enjoyable genre for me, and one I keep coming back to periodically. You would, however, expect a certain kind of book when I say chick lit. This book achieves a level of depth I have not often found in that genre.
Agnes is a trophy wife, and people judge her for it. Overnight, her life is uprooted and she has to hide out in New York. As a middle school teacher at a residential private school. Clearly, as a trophy wife, this is completely out of left field and also out of her comfort zone.
However, we soon find that neither of these things are true. The only reason it seems like it was out of left field is because she chooses to be willfully ignorant. And it isn't out of her comfort zone either - in fact, she is more comfortable than she thought she would be.
So while the plot and the story arc are great, I'm sorry to say that the characters do not reach the same level of finesse and development. It's one thing to create unlikable characters intentionally, and I'm sure Geller has done just that. However, I also believe that Agnes could have been a better developed character for sure, and as for Jack, the less said, the better. Her friend Beeks was NOT a good friend. In fact, she was objectively selfish & mean. If that was who passed for a best friend for Agnes, I kind of understand why she is the way she is.
So I'm undecided on how I feel about the characters, their depth and their personalities. Essentially, I haven't been able to make up my mind as to whether or not I liked the way they were.
Overall, a lovely story with a satisfying end. I especially like what Agnes was starting to become by the end of the book. I look forward to reading more of Geller's work!
Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for the e-arc.
*A review copy was provided to Oh Just Books by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*