Kelly is the author of The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane (Thomas Dunne, 2013) and The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay (Thomas Dunne, 2016). Watch for The Overdue Life of Amy Byler in May, 2019. Kelly lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her adorable and sometimes imperious toddler Griffin.
Grateful Reader Review: by Dorothy Schwab
Overdue Book = Library Fine Overdue Life = Credit Card Debt
Amy’s life as a wife and mother was going along as smoothly as can be expected with John, a mostly absent husband, Joe, an eight year old genius son and the diver, Cori, her twelve year old daughter. But on the day John rolled his suitcase out the door and got on a flight to Hong Kong, stable, stay-at-home mom, Amy, became a single mother with two children to raise. Quite quickly, according to Amy’s BFF, Lena, Amy snagged a job as school librarian at the private school Joe and Cori attended, refinanced the house and barged on with her life.
Kelly Harms recreates the topsy-turvy life and emotional roller coaster ride of a single mom with her quirky accounting of conversations that Amy Byler has with herself, in her own head. Amy’s actually quite convincing and has you choosing her side of the argument, and then just as swiftly your emotions flip-flop and suddenly her rationionalizations have you siding with John! (There were times I didn’t know if I’d “kiss ‘im or kick ‘im” if I actually ran into him.) The BIG issue arises when John returns after three years in Hong Kong, in order “to spend time” and “get to know” his children. (Oh brother, picture lots of really mad faced, exasperated emojis in Amy’s texts.)
John wants to spend a week with his children-just a week! What could go wrong? Amy’s friends, Lena and college roommate, Talia, are in cahoots when Amy decides to spend that same week in NYC at a conference for librarians, earning continuing education units and presenting at the conference. ( This is a “get away” on which planet?) Amy’s sensible financial strategy is to stay with Talia, editor of Pure Beautiful Magazine, in order to save hotel expenses. When Amy’s phone calls and texts go unanswered she reverts to their old college days and the tricks she and Talia used to get into hotels. This is the point where Amy’s “overdue life” begins to get REALLY expensive-it’s NYC, not rural Pennsylvania. Credit cards are for emergencies, right?
Amy’s attempt to enthuse and enthrall Cori with reading begins with summer book suggestions and journaling. This “grateful reader” simply adored the journal entries Cori writes to her mother at the beginning of each chapter. The references to authors, book titles and plays are a luscious treat for book lovers of all ages.
Amy does experience life in NYC. And it was certainly “overdue.” You’ll need to read the book to find out the bits about the “make over of Amy”, the clothes, the dates, the restaurants & bars, the plays, the museums; the crying & heart-breaking decisions that have to be made. Read Kelly Harm’s newest book and you will experience the pain of abandonment and the false elation of martyrdom; regret and forgiveness, the thrill of a new love, and even the realization that children grow up and become independent -which is both joyful and bittersweet. You might need your own ” momspringa” after you read The Overdue Life of Amy Byler.
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Reviews Coming Soon:
Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/555976/mistress-of-the-ritz-by-melanie-benjamin/9780399182242/
The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner