There are certain books that are for a particular group of people, and City Mouse by debut novelist Stacey Lender is one of those reads. It focuses on Jessica and Aaron, married with two daughters living in a tiny rented apartment in Brooklyn, desperate to get more space for their growing family. They decide to move into the suburbs, wooed by the promise of garages and big backyards, but Jessica quickly realizes her fellow suburban moms are not what they seem. Scenes of drenching themselves in weekend drinks, one-upping each other with outrageous purchases and rampant infidelity while on vacation are just some of the disturbing (yet fun to read about!) situations that Jessica witnesses, forcing her to re-think her once-revered suburban life.
It’s probably pretty obvious by my description why this book is only suited to a specific crowd, in fact I saw one goodreads reviewer list it as ‘mommy-lit’. This is the perfect definition for a genre of books that I’m seeing more and more of, and quite honestly, am seeking out more now that I’m a Mom myself. Are they highly intelligent reads that will open your eyes to the world’s problems? No, but they’re REALLY entertaining, and at this point in my life, extremely relatable, so I enjoy reading them nonetheless. Jessica’s struggles are some I feel myself, and I know my friends experience too; long commutes, balancing work and children, keeping a healthy body and marriage going, are all activities that many women struggle to keep up with. But the humour that Lender describes these situations with make them enjoyable to read about on the page, while also adding a well-needed dose of reality that many women deal with these same issues, many with way less resources at their disposal.
The female characters are fun to read about, and make up the majority of the action. The ‘husbands’ are mainly side acts, adding in a bit of extra humour here and there. For this reason, I can’t see a male audience finding this book particularly enjoyable or relatable; women are most definitely the center of the plot and all major interactions in this story. I will say some of the situations verge on the hard-to-believe, but they kept me reading (and sometimes reading out loud to my husband) so I do recommend this book for the ladies out there who are interested in another great example of ‘mommy-lit’. If you check out Lender’s website, she’s got some fun little extras to help promote her book too (aspiring authors take note!).