My Ex-Life
The time for Stephen McCauley's breakout novel has come and My Ex-Life is it in a major way. A delicious novel for fans of Tom Perrotta, Maria Semple, and Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney about how sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back.David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her 17-year-old daughter.That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices.When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago―they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.In prose filled with hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate one-liners, Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered. (Throw pillows optional.)

My Ex-Life Details

TitleMy Ex-Life
Author
ReleaseMay 8th, 2018
PublisherFlatiron Books
ISBN-139781250122438
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary

My Ex-Life Review

  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    I'm somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars.In 1987, I read Stephen McCauley's The Object of My Affection . I fell head over heels in love with that book about the often-blurred lines between love and friendship, and how we sometimes confuse security for happiness. I've read it a number of times since then, and it is easily one of my favorite books. (The less said about the film adaptation with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd the better.)Through the years, I have read all of McCauley's other books, an I'm somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars.In 1987, I read Stephen McCauley's The Object of My Affection . I fell head over heels in love with that book about the often-blurred lines between love and friendship, and how we sometimes confuse security for happiness. I've read it a number of times since then, and it is easily one of my favorite books. (The less said about the film adaptation with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd the better.)Through the years, I have read all of McCauley's other books, and he continues to be one of my favorite writers. I love the way his characters never quite have it all together (who does, really), and I so enjoy his commentary on the state of modern relationships, be they romantic, platonic, familial, or all of the above. He is, however, one of those authors who makes me wait quite a long time between books—his last book, Insignificant Others , was written eight years ago, but he generally lets four or five years elapse between books.Needless to say, I was well overdue for a McCauley fix, and happily, his newest book, My Ex-Life provided a terrific remedy.David Hedges' life is in a bit of a tailspin. His partner, Soren, has left him for an older, wealthier man, his beautiful rental home in San Francisco is being put up for sale (and he most definitely cannot afford to buy it), and he's gained more than a few pounds recently. And how did he wind up in his 50s?The last thing David was expecting was to hear from Julie Fiske, one of his oldest and dearest friends—who also happens to be his ex-wife."He and Julie had a history, albeit an ancient and complicated one. They hadn't seen each other in almost thirty years, hadn't spoken in more than twenty, and David assumed that their story, like a few other things in his life—his desire to visit Petra; his vow to study piano; his sexual relevance—had ended. This didn't diminish her importance to him. His memories of her lingered, faded by the years in flattering ways."Life has been a mess for Julie, too. She is in the midst of her second divorce, and her soon-to-be-ex-husband wants to sell their home (which Julie has been operating as a not-too-successful Airbnb property) right out from under her. Julie isn't sure where she can find the money to buy the house herself, although the thought of having to leave the seaside town outside Boston is utterly unappealing. Plus, she may have a little bit of a problem with marijuana.Julie and David reunite under the request that David, whose job entails helping high school kids pull together their college applications and get into the school of their (parents') choice, help Julie's daughter Mandy with the same task. Mandy doesn't think she's much of a catch for a college, and has more than enough problems with her self-worth to worry about SAT scores and essays. But she knows her mother is in a downward spiral, so she agrees to work with David.When David agrees to visit Julie, he does so in an attempt to rescue her from her current situation, not to mention escape the current craziness in his own life. It doesn't take long before they've slipped into the comforting familiarity of their relationship, albeit with a more mature (and realistic) eye. But there are some secrets which haven't been revealed in 30+ years, secrets which could damage their relationship—and their view of the path their lives took, not to mention people with designs on hurting all three of them.Once again, McCauley brings his signature wit, candor, and emotion to a story of two people with a rich and complex shared history. While you've seen characters like Julie, David, and Mandy before, McCauley draws you in and makes you care about them and the mistakes they're making, even if you can predict what might happen. There is humor, frustration, hurt, poignancy, and reminiscences, as well as plenty of instances in which the characters wonder if what they remember is accurate or viewed through the happy haze of reunion. My Ex-Life is a story about the truths and lies we tell ourselves and others, and how the strength to survive is often within ourselves, but it takes a good push from someone else to find it. It's also a story about friendship, love, and secrets, and how it's still possible to have the first two once you've worked through the third.I remain a huge fan of Stephen McCauley, and I'd encourage you to read his books. I only hope, if he sees this review, he considers not making me wait another eight years for his next book? (Pretty please? I can type it for you if that would help.)See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
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  • Meredith B. (readingwithmere)
    January 1, 1970
    4 Stars!This book is exactly what I needed when I picked it up. I've been reading such intense books lately that I need something a little bit on the lighter side. Now, don't get me wrong this was a light read in the sense of actions that took place however the psychological effect of this book is complex.Have you ever been divorced because you found out your ex-husband was actually gay? We hear about it from time to time and most of the time people typically go their separate ways and lead thei 4 Stars!This book is exactly what I needed when I picked it up. I've been reading such intense books lately that I need something a little bit on the lighter side. Now, don't get me wrong this was a light read in the sense of actions that took place however the psychological effect of this book is complex.Have you ever been divorced because you found out your ex-husband was actually gay? We hear about it from time to time and most of the time people typically go their separate ways and lead their own separate lives. What happens when you have another ex-husband BUT you have a child with them and you need your first ex-husband to come in and save the day? You confused yet? hahaThis story is about a family - Julie, Mandy (daughter), David (gay ex-husband) and Henry (2nd ex-husband). It's mostly about how they navigate their life and ultimately how to many sure that Mandy is doing the best she can in life. There are a lot of real situations that come up in this book: single mom trying to afford a home and working 2 jobs, two divorced parents fighting over where their child should go to school, finding love after you've been divorced, etc.The thing I loved most about this is how the family was able to come together. They may have had their differences but when it came down to situations (Mandy doing inappropriate things, help was needed so David flies across the country, etc.) they were all their for each other and found a way to make it work. Oh! and this book gave me quite a few chuckles along the way and I love a book that makes me laugh at times!If you're hoping for some sort of twist then you'll be let down. There isn't any huge twist in this however it's incredibly relatable about the modern day family and that is why I really enjoyed it. Plus it's set in a beachy town and I love when books transport me to a warm place :)I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a good family based story and enjoy reading about complex family issues that the modern day family goes through.
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  • Anmiryam
    January 1, 1970
    Every year there are at least a few entries into a genre I adore and which I call "Modern Gay Comedy of Manners." Last year I fell for Andrew Sean Greer's delicious and heartwarming Less. This year I'm glad I discovered Stephen McCauley's new book. It's not as sentimental as Greer's book, nor as romantic, but like LESS, it is concerned with the ways in which we reinvent ourselves and forge (or re-forge) families in middle age. In his exploration of how a gay man and a straight woman can find hap Every year there are at least a few entries into a genre I adore and which I call "Modern Gay Comedy of Manners." Last year I fell for Andrew Sean Greer's delicious and heartwarming Less. This year I'm glad I discovered Stephen McCauley's new book. It's not as sentimental as Greer's book, nor as romantic, but like LESS, it is concerned with the ways in which we reinvent ourselves and forge (or re-forge) families in middle age. In his exploration of how a gay man and a straight woman can find happiness together, decades after their marriage has ended, McCauley's is clear-sighted, observant, and miraculously, both snarky and empathetic. Mandy, Julie's teenage daughter, is a character who will stay with me for a long time. In her, McCauley has captured what sitcom writers have never been able to -- intelligence and insecurity, wisdom and immaturity, insight and impulsiveness. The book has a preposterous happy ending via a plot contortion it hurts to even consider, but one which didn't ruin the overall impression. After all, happy endings always require a fair bit of absurdity, but they keep hope alive for everyday life, and that's why I keep coming back to fiction.
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  • Tooter
    January 1, 1970
    Well that book was a ton of fun! Not my usual genre but I loved this quirky, witty read.
  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    UPDATE: After much self debate and contemplation I did decide to leave a one star rating. I think the way I feel and my inability to stomach this book are valid reasons for the one star rating in this instance. I would not bat an eye at giving any other book I tried reading and had to abandon a low rating. Why not this one? I have decided to not finish this book (DNF). There are too many wonderful books I would like to have time to read rather than subject myself to the feelings created within m UPDATE: After much self debate and contemplation I did decide to leave a one star rating. I think the way I feel and my inability to stomach this book are valid reasons for the one star rating in this instance. I would not bat an eye at giving any other book I tried reading and had to abandon a low rating. Why not this one? I have decided to not finish this book (DNF). There are too many wonderful books I would like to have time to read rather than subject myself to the feelings created within me as I tried reading this one. Although I really want to give it a low rating, I have decided to simply leave it unrated. Perhaps I will change my mind later. I'm still thinking about it. Full disclosure- I read about 30% and skimmed the rest. I was irritated beyond the point of my extreme tolerance with the way numerous "characters" were portrayed in this book. I can only surmise that the author wrote too much of his own held prejudices into EVERY "bad" character. If it had truly read to me as character building I would not have blinked an eye. I have no issue reading wonderfully drawn characters who think and feel differently than I do. However, I truly feel that is NOT what was happening here. I felt like there was an underlying agenda that could not be ignored. Many characters (all that are anti- main characters) are each built as mean or evil spirited and the author holds no bars and tells us in no uncertain terms that they are "Republican", or *eye roll* Christians, or "too conservative" to be reasonable and therefore the heart of what is wrong with society today. Frankly this kind of closed -minded writing offends me. I am proud to say I am *gasp* Christian, Conservative, and usually vote Republican (although I truly would consider myself Libertarian if I had to place a political label). I feel the blanket judgments and perpetuation of false stereotypes the author employed is harmful. Bottom line -- I simply choose not to finish a book that employs such low boiled hatred. Also for what it's worth because I'm SURE someone will accuse me of being anti-homosexual because the main character is gay. I can say unequivocally that is not the case. I knew what to expect before I began reading and I was truly excited to read this story from the description. So understand my dislike of this book has nothing to do with the sexuality of the main character. Perhaps I'm a dichotomy of sorts-- I am extremely socially liberal but still fall within the lines of conservative in most other facets of life. If I knew how to link another review to this one I would. However, in the meantime take a look at Fred's 1 star review. He better illustrates my criticisms with examples taken directly from the book. God Bless you for reading my thoughts and not judging me. In compliance with FTC guidelines------I received this book free from Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. The content of this review is not influenced by that fact. The feelings expressed are solely mine. I sincerely appreciate the chance to read and review this book before release. Obviously the finish date is incorrect. I had to change the date so that this book would not be counted in my reading challenge.0*DNF/4.18
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  • Fred
    January 1, 1970
    This pleasant book about interesting characters in interesting relationships would have earned a higher rating from me had it not been completely ruined for me by the author's undisguised utter loathing of conservatives and religious people, or as he calls them, "religious" people. The first negative comment, a thought that Julie has that her soon-to-be ex-husband may have voted for Mitt Romney as an act of aggression towards her, I chalked up to the character's own foibles or dislike of the rig This pleasant book about interesting characters in interesting relationships would have earned a higher rating from me had it not been completely ruined for me by the author's undisguised utter loathing of conservatives and religious people, or as he calls them, "religious" people. The first negative comment, a thought that Julie has that her soon-to-be ex-husband may have voted for Mitt Romney as an act of aggression towards her, I chalked up to the character's own foibles or dislike of the right. Fair enough. When Julie feels equally suspicious of another character simply because he comments about the weather being normal for the time of year, she judges his comments to reveal his status as a "climate denier and thus Republican." That, again, can be attributed to the character's own quirks. But then the other main character, David, chimes in with a disturbingly intolerant and narrow-mind thought of his own about his brother and his wife: "Religion came into [his brother's] opinions. He was married to a pretty woman who used the expression "the Lord" in a disturbing number of sentences, and was homeschooling their three kids, always a red flag." As the novel proceeds, every negatively tinged character becomes the repository of the author's distaste and condescension towards the "right wingers" and religious people, like the couple who engage in noisy sex, who sport bumper stickers with New Testament verses on their car, or Mandy's high-school teacher, a "big right-winger," whose pat sayings were "somewhere on the racist spectrum." Mandy's own prejudice toward her teacher's political (and presumed racist) views is the third character in this novel to exhibit intolerance towards "right-wing" views, cementing for me the theory that it's not just the characters alone who possess these smug prejudices towards half the population, but the author himself who feels it incumbent to express his superior dismissals of those who think differently from him. After a while, it feels like the characters' thoughts serve only as vehicles for the author to express his disgust for "a certain segment of the population, [who believe] acknowledging the existence of scientific data was considered unpatriotic, akin to acknowledging the existence of gun violence unless perpertrated by Muslims or racism that didn't involve a white person losing a job to a person of color." Another diatribe by David: "Among the many hypocrisies of the 'religious' was the fact that they viewed God as omnipotent but treated him like a ventriloquist's dummy by putting their words and crackpot beliefs, prejudices, and unfounded biases into His mouth whenever it suited their purposes." At another point McCauley/David presumes conservatives assume humans are complicit in their own tragedies. "How else could you explain the right-wing attitude toward health care, poverty and prison?"It's baffling that in a novel in which the author exhibits such deep understanding of and sympathy for his characters, he can be so presumptuous and ignorant of the motivations, emotions, and thoughts of half his readership who do not think exactly as he does on political issues. Well, half minus one. That's the first and last novel I'll be reading of McCauley's.
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  • Sterlingcindysu
    January 1, 1970
    When I read a book of fiction, I hardly ever think that the characters are speaking in the voice and beliefs of the author. But here, that's all I was thinking about. There's zingers about all types of political viewpoints here and none of the characters take an opposing view, they're all coming from the liberal side and dissing the right. I didn't really notice during the first 50 pages, starting dog earing pages around 100 and gave that up at 150.The story was so-so. This was an ARC and as an When I read a book of fiction, I hardly ever think that the characters are speaking in the voice and beliefs of the author. But here, that's all I was thinking about. There's zingers about all types of political viewpoints here and none of the characters take an opposing view, they're all coming from the liberal side and dissing the right. I didn't really notice during the first 50 pages, starting dog earing pages around 100 and gave that up at 150.The story was so-so. This was an ARC and as an editor I'd never put a quote on about waking your spouse with your laughter if you read this in bed. It's certainly not laugh out loud funny. The big conflict of the book is resolved with a single sentence. In fact there were a few times I was MAD. A man who guides college applications says he likes when students are a bit on the sad side because of the condition of the planet they're about to inherit. (Not quoting directly because ARC and it might be changed.) Excuse me? Since I went to college in the '70s things have improved drastically. Another comment was that older married couples go from Romeo and Juliet to Laurel and Hardy...that made the book go flying across the room. (38 years coming up in September and no, my husband and I don't do comedy routines nor are we jokes.)AirBnB is a big part of this book. I've never rented either way but our condo association does have rules in place, as does our town. If these descriptions are true (dirty house, no a/c, frozen breakfast) then I sure don't have any desire to start.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    My Ex-Life is fun, witty, and clever. A light summer read with a hint of a darker underlying edge. I definitely laughed out loud a few times while reading this amusing look at the modern family. My Ex Life is the story of David, a gay man in San Francisco who helps rich kids get into college, Julie, David's ex-wife and current stoner mom who is getting her second divorce and must turn her home into an AirBnB with the hopes of buying out her soon-to-be-ex-husband, and Mandy, a smart, but directio My Ex-Life is fun, witty, and clever. A light summer read with a hint of a darker underlying edge. I definitely laughed out loud a few times while reading this amusing look at the modern family. My Ex Life is the story of David, a gay man in San Francisco who helps rich kids get into college, Julie, David's ex-wife and current stoner mom who is getting her second divorce and must turn her home into an AirBnB with the hopes of buying out her soon-to-be-ex-husband, and Mandy, a smart, but directionless teenager. When David's life is turned upside down, he ends up back in Julie's life, exploring their new relationship as friends. I really enjoyed David and Julie's new friendship and, although I thought I knew where the book was headed, I was genuinely surprised a few times. However, I did think the way McCauley portrayed smoking pot as morally objectionable was pretty antiquated and it often took me out of the story. It felt like a 1950s judgement in an otherwise very modern tale.I had a lot of fun reading My Ex Life, but it's not a book that will stay with me. Honestly, I probably won't think about it again once I put it back on my shelf. Thank you so much to flatiron for sending me a copy to review. It was enjoyable, fun and witty if just slightly forgettable.
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  • Janelle
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for providing my free copy of MY EX-LIFE by Stephen McCauley - all opinions are my own.This is very much a character driven story with clever and witty dialogue that I absolutely LOVED!David Hedges and Julie Fiske haven’t seen each other in almost thirty years. Julie is in the middle of a divorce. Living in New England with her teenage daughter Mandy, she loves her old Victorian house, but it is rapidly becoming a money pit. Her current ex-husband, Henry, is t Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for providing my free copy of MY EX-LIFE by Stephen McCauley - all opinions are my own.This is very much a character driven story with clever and witty dialogue that I absolutely LOVED!David Hedges and Julie Fiske haven’t seen each other in almost thirty years. Julie is in the middle of a divorce. Living in New England with her teenage daughter Mandy, she loves her old Victorian house, but it is rapidly becoming a money pit. Her current ex-husband, Henry, is threatening to sell the home and take custody of their daughter. On the other side of the country, David, who happens to be Julie’s first ex-husband from long ago, gets dumped and loses his remarkable rent controlled apartment in San Francisco. He is a freelance admissions counselor that helps high school students apply to college, so Mandy finds the opportunity to orchestrate his stay at her mother’s makeshift Airbnb.I had so much fun reading this book! It has sarcastic, funny, sharp dialogue with extremely likable and authentic characters. McCauley’s characters came alive on the page and I wanted to be real-life friends with Julie, David, and Mandy. It was the perfect read for me between my usual harrowing, dark books. I love McCauley’s comedic writing style and would definitely read another book by him. MY EX-LIFE is about starting over and hitting the “reset button” no matter where you are in life.My rating is 4.5 stars!
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  • L O R I L I N
    January 1, 1970
    David and Julie's brief marriage ended decades ago, right after Julie discovered David having an affair...with the husband of one of their good friends. Both went their separate ways and moved on to different relationships. Julie even married and had a daughter, Mandy. But all these years later, David and Julie are both going through a rough patch. David's partner has left him for a younger man, and Julie is in the middle of a contentious divorce that's about to leave her financially drained and David and Julie's brief marriage ended decades ago, right after Julie discovered David having an affair...with the husband of one of their good friends. Both went their separate ways and moved on to different relationships. Julie even married and had a daughter, Mandy. But all these years later, David and Julie are both going through a rough patch. David's partner has left him for a younger man, and Julie is in the middle of a contentious divorce that's about to leave her financially drained and possibly homeless. She also may or may not be hitting the gonge a little too hard...When Mandy discovers some old pictures of her mom and David, Julie is forced to tell Mandy about this part of her past. Intrigued by David and hopeful that he might help her mom become a bit more stable, Mandy decides to invite David to stay with them for a few weeks. Soon, the three form a sweet, albeit unconventional, family unit, and, over time, they are forced to lean on each other as drama unfolds and secrets are revealed.  *   *   *   *   *What a great book. From start to finish, I was absolutely drawn in to the lives of these characters. Julie and David, especially, are wonderful---so full and flawed and richly-developed. I enjoyed seeing their relationship progress over time; even though it was unique, it was still totally believable. Mandy is also an interesting character. I don't know that I really fell in love with her at any point, but I still empathized with her. Her storyline gets a little weird and unconvincing toward the end, but, thankfully, author McCauley reins it in just in time. Mostly I just appreciate that My Ex-Life is a fun, easy, relatable, and quirky read. The story moves along, the characters entertain, and I finished the book feeling content and happy. It really was a pleasure to read, and I'm already looking forward to Stephen McCauley's next book.Thank you to Flatiron Books for the ARC!See more of my reviews at www.bugbugbooks.com!
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    An ex is an ex for a reason as their meant to stay in your rear view while you peel out or so I thought... Till death do us part, or till we meet again...whatever shall come first!In the case of this marriage between David Hodges and Julie Fiske it was certainly short lived but not without the fireworks and fan fare.As a college counselor he was used to making the necessary adjustments for others but what about for himself? David decided to pursue his relationship with his partner Soren but at w An ex is an ex for a reason as their meant to stay in your rear view while you peel out or so I thought... Till death do us part, or till we meet again...whatever shall come first!In the case of this marriage between David Hodges and Julie Fiske it was certainly short lived but not without the fireworks and fan fare.As a college counselor he was used to making the necessary adjustments for others but what about for himself? David decided to pursue his relationship with his partner Soren but at what cost and to whom?Would he later regret what he left behind - a wife, a daughter Mandy, a nice cushy lifestyle?Struggling to get by and pay mortgage Julie Fiske learns that the karma train is a bastard especially when he takes her with it as her 2nd husband also has left her. Carol seems nice in fact too nice and too perfect having been more like able than her Henry (2nd spouse). Carol truly is too good for Henry but will the powers that be keep them together?Julie is not without fault her either as she smokes weed to lessen anxiety and stress. However, it's not an illusion when David makes that call asking if he could return to help out.Now they must live together all 3 ( David, Julie, and Mandy) but will it work a 2nd time around?This was a great story that flowed perfectly across the pages.I thank Stephen and the publisher for this ARC copy in exchange for this honest review.This book will be donated tomorrow to The Hoyt Library in memory of my niece Cassie Ann Gatcha for our ARC basket.
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  • Ashley (BooksandButtons)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Flatiron books for providing me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.Unfortunately, this book did not work for me.This book is being touted as "hilarious" and I never really laughed. I found the "funny" situations that the characters were in to be boring and cliche. The characters were all very unlikable and I never felt emotionally invested in their downfalls, but more importantly, I never felt like THEY cared much about their downfalls. There was just no emotion!
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  • Tara - Running 'n' Reading
    January 1, 1970
    David and Julie were once married, very briefly, until David finally acknowledged his preference for men and they parted ways; they haven't seen each other in nearly thirty years but Julie, in the process of divorcing her second husband, reaches out to him to ask for help for her daughter (David has created a business providing guidance to students as they begin the college application process) and they are reunited. David's boyfriend has left him, he has gained 20 pounds of misery, and his long David and Julie were once married, very briefly, until David finally acknowledged his preference for men and they parted ways; they haven't seen each other in nearly thirty years but Julie, in the process of divorcing her second husband, reaches out to him to ask for help for her daughter (David has created a business providing guidance to students as they begin the college application process) and they are reunited. David's boyfriend has left him, he has gained 20 pounds of misery, and his longterm, affordable San Francisco rental is about to be sold by its owner; suffice it to say, like Julie, he's not in the best situation of his life. The beauty of their reunion, and this story, is that they each become exactly the friend that the other needs.Julie’s face, in the morning light, had the yesterday’s-dessert look he’d grown accustomed to seeing in his peers and his mirror - everything a little melted, fallen, and shiny - but she had the same long, straight hair and the same demeanor of addled sweetness, most apparent in her bemused and slightly wary smile.Mandy, Julie's college-prepping daughter, is a noteworthy character, as well; she is talented, insightful beyond her years, and desperate (very relatable, for many of us!) to escape from the embarrassment heaped upon her by the actions of her mother who, as it turns out, has also picked up a little affection for "pot," as it is referred to by Julie. She and David form a unique bond and they each support one another during their respective life stages. McCauley does a stellar job of introducing other secondary characters, full of spunk and personality, without the novel feeling bogged down; I never felt like I needed to take notes to keep up with everyone because they all complimented each other so well. In that other, earlier life they’d had together, their ex-life, they’d imagined a future ahead of them full of limitless possibilities. Oh, he’d known even then that everything has its limits, but it appeared there was an immense, glittering expanse of time rolling out before them with a bright end point so far in the distance it was unknowable, but easy to picture being as splendid as Oz.What I loved most about this book was the way in which each character began to endear him or herself to me more and more as the story progressed; they are my favorites - broken people who feel resigned to their fate, only to discover that maybe there is some redemption to be found in the everyday and in the people around them. McCauley reminds us that, even when things didn't go as well as we might have liked in our "ex-life," there is still time for a reset.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    I really, really, really liked this book which started very humorously, but ended up tackling some really serious issues. Divorce, sexual identity, teenage angst and trying to keep true to oneself when all the rest of the world has its nose in your business. Daily, real life.I love McCauley's writing. He does not rely on trite phrases, rather he is always fresh and innovative.I have to catch up with the rest of his works.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Flatiron books for this ARC.I don't know how to review this since it was just an okay book in my opinion. Nothing exciting happening unless you want to call a teenager living w/her mother and her mother's gay ex-husband from 20 years ago who moves in to help her w/her college prep and ends up staying there permanently to help his ex-wife try to buy the rundown house she lives in. The teenager gets into a predicament with a job and her mother's ex-husband gets her out of it.It ends pred Thanks to Flatiron books for this ARC.I don't know how to review this since it was just an okay book in my opinion. Nothing exciting happening unless you want to call a teenager living w/her mother and her mother's gay ex-husband from 20 years ago who moves in to help her w/her college prep and ends up staying there permanently to help his ex-wife try to buy the rundown house she lives in. The teenager gets into a predicament with a job and her mother's ex-husband gets her out of it.It ends predictably to me.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Exes David and Julie are both at a crossroads in their lives. David's young boyfriend has left him for a more successful older man to whom David's landlord has decided to sell the cottage he has been living in for years. Julie is undergoing a divorce and is faced with the prospect of losing the home she has built for her and her daughter Mandy. Can these two put aside their past history and build a better future together? My Ex-Life was a sweet novel. I found most of the characters endearing and Exes David and Julie are both at a crossroads in their lives. David's young boyfriend has left him for a more successful older man to whom David's landlord has decided to sell the cottage he has been living in for years. Julie is undergoing a divorce and is faced with the prospect of losing the home she has built for her and her daughter Mandy. Can these two put aside their past history and build a better future together? My Ex-Life was a sweet novel. I found most of the characters endearing and enjoyed McCauley's unique twist to the typical dysfunctional family storyline. Would definitely recommend to anyone looking sfor a book to cozy up with this summer.Special thanks to NetGalley, Flatiron books and Stephen McCauley for access to an advanced reader's edition to this novel.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publishers and the author for the chance to read this book in advance!I really enjoyed this novel and I think I can pinpoint the exact reason as to why: I have never before read someone describe human nature and thoughts in such a scarily accurate yet comprehensible way. I felt like Stephen McCauley was inside my brain. Or maybe I was inside his, I don't know. The way he describes how people act, how people react, why they do what they do, how they judge people and why...I don't Thank you to the publishers and the author for the chance to read this book in advance!I really enjoyed this novel and I think I can pinpoint the exact reason as to why: I have never before read someone describe human nature and thoughts in such a scarily accurate yet comprehensible way. I felt like Stephen McCauley was inside my brain. Or maybe I was inside his, I don't know. The way he describes how people act, how people react, why they do what they do, how they judge people and why...I don't think he has any degrees in psychology, but he could have fooled me. He tells the story of three main characters, David, Julie and Mandy. A single gay male, a straight, single mother, an emotional and confused teenage daughter. I can't speak for the first two, but I can speak for being a confused, angst-ridden teenage daughter. I don't think Mr. McCauley can speak for being that as well but you wouldn't know it. Maybe he was a teenage girl in his past life because damned if he didn't nail the feelings and the anger and the reactions of a hormonal teenage girl on the head. He just KNOWS AND WRITES ABOUT IT SO WELL IT'S KIND OF SCARY.Besides him being a mind-reader and a wizard with putting the human psyche into words, Mr. McCauley wrote a captivating story about just really normal people. Really run-of-the-mill-could-be-your-neighbors people. I like these kinds of stories where nobody is spectacular and nobody is outrageous but they are still interesting and have fascinating stories to tell. I look forward to reading more of Mr. McCauley's works.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    My Ex-Life was an interesting, witty, and drama filled novel that explores how we define family. Julie's life is falling apart- in the middle of a volatile divorce, with a teenage daughter that has no goals or motivation for college, and she has started running a B&B out of her ramshackle home for extra money but has no clue what she's doing. Her daughter finds a box from her past life and on a sentimental whim, Julie calls her ex-husband David. His life, clear on the other side of the US fr My Ex-Life was an interesting, witty, and drama filled novel that explores how we define family. Julie's life is falling apart- in the middle of a volatile divorce, with a teenage daughter that has no goals or motivation for college, and she has started running a B&B out of her ramshackle home for extra money but has no clue what she's doing. Her daughter finds a box from her past life and on a sentimental whim, Julie calls her ex-husband David. His life, clear on the other side of the US from her, is also falling apart. His boyfriend has left him, his friends are failing him, and the home he rents is being sold. Her call comes at the perfect time and he flies across the country to escape his life and help Julie out with hers. Once married, and now best friends, old hurts and secrets arise. The reader watches them muck through this new stage of life for them, both individually and as friends, and help her 17 year old daughter find her path in life. For me, this was ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars (rounded up from 2.5). Thank you @flatiron_books for this advance reader in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Megan C.
    January 1, 1970
    4.5Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me with a copy of this one. I LOVED it! It was exactly what I needed to lighten things up after reading several dark and intense books. It's funny, witty, kind, and authentic. Full review coming soon, but if you're looking for something to freshen up your reading and give you the giggles, (while also dishing out characters you'll fall in love with), pick this one up!
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    A social commentary novel with well developed and interesting characters.
  • Olga Fry
    January 1, 1970
    I know people are crazy about "My Ex-Life" and for a good while, I was too. I was eager to stay in the world that Stephen McCauley composed but I thought that the book began to drag on toward the end, it became a slog to try and finish.
  • Tim Pinckney
    January 1, 1970
    This book is delicious from start to finish. I read it slowly because I didn't want it to end. So funny and SO smart and, at times, heartbreaking. It's a great ride. Hard to imagine anyone not handing themselves over to these fascinating, funny and beautifully drawn characters. I've read several of Mr. McCauley's books and I remain a devoted fan.Get it and read it.
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  • MomIsReading
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the characters in this one. I do feel the ending was too abrupt and the characters did not develop as deeply as they could have. Overall solid read and some great humor.
  • Bethany Clark
    January 1, 1970
    Where do I begin...What do I talk about...What do I keep a secret until you read the book for yourselves, which I HIGHLY recommend by the way.Stephen has such a great writing style - everything flows, it makes sense and it is timely.He approaches many topics from a broken marriage where one gets re-married and the other decides to come out as gay, a teenager who is lost and finds herself in a very dangerous situation, some very unique friendships, see why I can't give away all the details? The Where do I begin...What do I talk about...What do I keep a secret until you read the book for yourselves, which I HIGHLY recommend by the way.Stephen has such a great writing style - everything flows, it makes sense and it is timely.He approaches many topics from a broken marriage where one gets re-married and the other decides to come out as gay, a teenager who is lost and finds herself in a very dangerous situation, some very unique friendships, see why I can't give away all the details? The story begins by Julie contacting her ex-husband David about helping her daughter find colleges to apply to and navigate the process and the daughter invites him to come visit for a bit and it turns into weeks. Julie is trying to figure out how to keep her soon to be ex-husband from selling her home (and airb&b) out from under her.Ultimately, will David find the new direction he is looking for in life? Will Julie figure out how to save the current life she has and the house she has grown attached to? Will Mandy find her way out of the darkness before it's too late and she is lost forever?Dive into this book today, you won't be disappointed.
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    Although I liked this a lot, it suffered a bit by having followed a book with similar themes read earlier this week. A good example of mixing titles in order to isolate the effect. There's a small (fictitious) town by the water that seems on the downslide, with quirky characters and original situations. McCauley had fun with several secondary characters that are truly hilarious, and his central characters are three dimensional and believable.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't put this novel down. I loved how unique each of the characters were and how well I got to know them. McCauley weaves so much into one sentence and I loved the clever quips weaved throughout. A beautiful novel about life, forgiveness, and growth.
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    * Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me with an advanced copy to read and review. *Going into this reading this book, I was not sure what to expect. I have never read anything by this author, and had not heard too much about the book. That being said, I really enjoyed this book. The characters were very dysfunctional but somehow worked well together. The dialogue between characters was witty and I found myself laughing out loud to myself a few times. This book is a fun read.
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  • Amina
    January 1, 1970
    ❤ Best book I’ve read so far this year! Okay, so it’s early days of 2018 but this book grabbed me and didn’t let go until the end. LOVE all the characters and perhaps Mandy most of all (though I’m a lot closer to her mother’s age). The book is tender, smart, funny, modern, messy, and felt like an old friend. P.S. I do have some throw pillows... ❤️ Best book I’ve read so far this year! Okay, so it’s early days of 2018 but this book grabbed me and didn’t let go until the end. LOVE all the characters and perhaps Mandy most of all (though I’m a lot closer to her mother’s age). The book is tender, smart, funny, modern, messy, and felt like an old friend. P.S. I do have some throw pillows...
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    A mid-life crisis is the center of this humorous, emotional book by McCauley. This easy, comforting read acts a social commentary at times, which may offend some readers. I, however, adored this book and look forward to reading more from this author.
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  • natalie
    January 1, 1970
    I always appreciate winning a book from Goodreads, so thank you Goodreads.I also always try to enter just for books that I think I will like and 90% of the time I do. Somehow, this book just didn't do it for me. I felt like it was very prejudicial writing even though I know it was written as fiction. The storyline was good, but the prejudicial views were not appreciated by me. I am giving honest opinion of this book. I'm sure the writing didn't bother others, but it bothered me.
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