Objects of My Affections is author Jill Smolinski's third novel.
I always enjoy looking at covers first, imagining what the story inside will be. Moving on and lots of baggage? And I wasn't far off.......
Lucy Bloom (loved the name) has seriously downsized - in fact she's sold just about everything she owned, including her house. Why? Well, her son Ash is an addict and she finally got him to go to a rehab, but needed the money to finance it.
Lucy had mild success with her initial book Things Are Not People - an organizational and de-cluttering guide. That book has gotten her an interview with Will Meier. He's the son of reclusive (and difficult) artist Marva Meier Rios and there is a deadline for clearing out the clutter in the house. Lucy lands the job, but what she finds is more than simple clutter - Marva's home could be featured on one of those television shows about hoarding. There's a deadline to meet and Marva isn't going to make it easy - she needs to look at each and every item before a decision is made.
The cover of Objects of My Affection immediately brings chick lit to mind. And yes it is, but the story is much more than that. There needs to a be another genre heading - Chick Lit with Heart, Chick Lit with More? Something along those lines. For while Smolinski's book is light and breezy and does include the requisite hunky guy and missed meanings and connections, there's more to the story.
Jill handles some serious situations and topics with thoughtfulness and candor. Hoarding of course, which usually involves an underlying catalyst not dealt with. And the opposite - Lucy herself is able to let things go with no problem. I thought that Ash's drug use and Lucy's struggle to deal with it was done very well - it read as quite real. Relationships of all sorts are explored with an emphasis on mothers and sons.
I really enjoyed Lucy's ex boyfriend Daniel. His sense of humour, his caring, giving nature and his honesty made him one of my favourite characters. Nelson, the care nurse was also quite funny. And for reasons I'm not quite sure of, I actually found myself enjoying Marva over Lucy. Marva's crotchety ways actually endeared her to me! But, that's not to say I wasn't cheering for Lucy to succeed.
As one of her characters says " it's clear that everything here at one time was worth something to you but that doesn't mean it has to be forever. They're holding you back from the life you could have. Let it go."
Smolinski has crafted a warm, funny, sweet read that touches on the question what do we keep in our lives and what do we need to let go? Food for thought....
Recommended summer reading - tuck this one in your beach bag for 2012. Get a head start - read an excerpt of Objects of My Affection. Fans of Jennifer Weiner would enjoy this book.
You can find Jill Smolinski on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. She's also started a Bucket List Blog, where "I chronicle my experiment in which I do ONE thing, however small, EVERY DAY that I've never done before, that challenges me, or that just sounds fun. I hope to make it a full year." Or invite her to your book club!