Review | Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski


objectsI received a copy of Objects of My Affection courtesy of the publisher, and after reading a brief plot outline I was really excited to receive it. Unfortunately, despite the interesting idea, it didn’t work for me.

The story is that of Lucy, a divorced single mother whose life is in a tailspin. Her 19 year old son is in a drug rehab facility, she was forced to sell her home to pay for said rehab, her long-term boyfriend has left her, and she’s lost her job. Luckily, an opportunity arises and she’s hired to use her skills as a professional organizer to clean out the home of a famous reclusive painter.

While the story was interesting enough, the writing left much to be desired. It was written as a 1st person narrative, and frankly I found Lucy to be pretty annoying a lot of the time. I think she was supposed to be ‘quirky and fun’ but she came across as just scatterbrained and, well, kind of stupid. Eventually she does see the error of her ways and finally fixes some things in her life, but watching her flounder around and be walked all over for 4/5 of the book wasn’t particularly enjoyable.

There was also a moment when a few characters ‘discovered’ something that I guess was supposed to be a surprise, but the author laid so many really obviously clues that it was not at all surprising, and instead I was just annoyed that the characters took so long to figure it out. Speaking of being non-subtle, the author would frequently way over-explain things, which just makes me feel like she thinks her readers are stupid. For example, if there was a gentleman kissing a woman and the gentleman was married (that did not happen in the book – I am avoiding giving a specific example so I don’t give away the book), then the author would detail the kiss and say something like, “The kiss was complicated. He was married, which made it less than simple. Because he was married, the woman wasn’t sure how she felt about it.” Yes, we know, thank you!

There were a few times that the author simply didn’t seem to know what she was talking about. Like the time Lucy said she was going to sign her son up for Narcotics Anonymous . . . you don’t sign people up for N.A. You just go. Or the time Lucy was reading over someone’s Will, the person said they wanted their ashes scattered at some bridge, and then Lucy proceeded to discuss how she was pretty sure that was illegal – unless of course they could find a dishonest funeral director. Two seconds of research would have shown her that funeral directors don’t usually scatter the ashes, families do. Later in the book there was a scene involving an urn filled with ashes, so I’m really not sure what the deal was. There were many other inconsistencies that just took me out of the book and made me roll my eyes.

All that said, this wasn’t the type of book that was so awful it was aggravating to read. The pace was nice, I was able to read it for hours at a time without getting bored, and I’m sure many people will really enjoy it. I just felt that with such an interesting backstory and such interesting characters, a different writer could have taken it a lot further.

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