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Book Review: I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum (3/5)

21 Aug

I heard a lot about this book when it was first released but hadn’t been too tempted. But, when you see a book for $1 on the library sale shelf after it was withdrawn from circulation, you buy it. And when it’s been far too long that it’s. Even on your shelf and you need a new audiobook, you download it and listen to it while you run, craft, and cook.

Cover Image via Goodreads

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum

Summary from Goodreads:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette meets Beautiful Ruins in this reverse love story set in Paris and London about a failed monogamist’s attempts to answer the question: Is it really possible to fall back in love?

Despite the success of his first solo show in Paris and the support of his brilliant French wife and young daughter, thirty-four-year-old British artist Richard Haddon is too busy mourning the loss of his American mistress to a famous cutlery designer to appreciate his fortune.

But after Richard discovers that a painting he originally made for his wife, Anne -when they were first married and deeply in love-has sold, it shocks him back to reality and he resolves to reinvest wholeheartedly in his family life . . . just in time for his wife to learn the extent of his affair. Rudderless and remorseful, Richard embarks on a series of misguided attempts to win Anne back while focusing his creative energy on a provocative art piece to prove that he’s still the man she once loved.

I thought this book would be more upbeat than it was, to be honest. The title made me think someone would be having fun, though I don’t know who I thought it would be. This is another case of me not reading the back of a book and being blown away by the plot. I wanted to hate Richard, but it was hard to. Yes, he was a cheater, but he tried to reform and had a hard time doing so because of other circumstances. I wanted to like Anne, but she was very cold and removed. It was hard to feel for anyone except Cam.

I’m fortunate to say I’ve never been in a relationship where there was cheating. For that reason, it’s hard for me to say if I would have acted like Richard or Anne. I can’t say if I would have wanted to separate or wanted to get back together or ever forgiven my partner. I’ve heard of relationships going any number of ways after such a tragedy so the way Anne and Richard handled their troubles seems plausible.

I did grow to like Richard despite my initial dislike for him as a cheater. He admitted to his mistake, did what he wife wanted and needed, even when it wasn’t what he wanted, and tried to keep his daughter’s well-being the focus of the decisions he made. He’s just lucky Anne did the same things. I wanted Anne to take him back the whole time. The ups and downs were hard to bear.

I related most to Richard’s parents in a way. My own parents are stupidly over-the-moon in love after 30+ years of marriage. I can’t say I related to Richard as a whole, but when it came to seeing his parent’s routines, small foibles, and love for each other, I related to that. It’s so great to see times when a marriage works. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking to see it when one is in the process of coming apart.

I could relate to the comfort Richard found at home. I had a time in my life when I was at a bad job and spending the night at my parents’ house made everything better. I was able to put things in perspective and easily slip into a routine I had abandoned when I moved out. It was comforting and, I believe a song says, you can always go home (or something like that).

Courtney Maum
Image via Twitter

I liked reading about Richard’s art. That was a unique part of the book and it was fun to read about something so different. His installment and the ways the art world worked were new to me and I learned a lot about them. I didn’t think an installment like Richard’s is something that would sell, I thought it was a performance piece and nothing more could be done once performed.

I disliked hearing about the affair and how it started. It wasn’t the focus of the book and Richard’s detail about starting up with Lisa is part of what made me dislike him when I was trying so hard to like him. I wish it had been left out or at least less detailed.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Sam Deveraux. Since the author has a female name, I made the (wrong) assumption that the narrator would be female so I was initially put off by the male voice. I quickly adjusted and ended up having no problem at all. Deveraux did a good job and I’m glad they picked a reader with a British accent who could speak French, much like Richard. It gave a strong sense of Richard reading the book. His French accent for French characters was really fun, too.

Every marriage is different and I think that point was well displayed in this book. Richard and Anne received a lot of advice about how to overcome their problems and everyone had a different story and a different way of dealing with it. None of it worked for them and they had to find their own way. I liked that they didn’t try to be another couple, they did what would work for them.

Writer’s Takeaway: I’m glad Maum wrote from a male point of view. It’s not very common to write from another gender’s point of view. I always notice when I find a book that fits this bill. I wrote a short story from a male point of view and it threw my mom for a loop! I only wish I could weigh in on if Maum did this well. Are there any men out there who have read this one who can weigh in? I thought it was good, but I don’t know what it feels like to be a man.

I enjoyed this book though the dark subject wasn’t what I really wanted while on vacation! Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

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