Friday, March 12, 2021

✱✱Book Review✱✱ Blog Blitz for Are We There Yet? by Kathleen West

Among fake Instagram pages, long-buried family secrets, and the horrors of middle school, one suburban mom searches to find herself in a heartfelt and thought-provoking novel from the author of Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes.
 
Alice Sullivan feels like she’s finally found her groove in middle age, but it only takes one moment for her perfectly curated life to unravel. On the same day she learns her daughter is struggling in second grade, a call from her son’s school accusing him of bullying throws Alice into a tailspin.  

When it comes to light that the incident is part of a new behavior pattern for her son, one complete with fake social media profiles with a lot of questionable content, Alice’s social standing is quickly eroded to one of “those moms” who can’t control her kids. Soon she’s facing the very judgement she was all too happy to dole out when she thought no one was looking (or when she thought her house wasn’t made of glass).
 
Then her mother unloads a family secret she’s kept for more than thirty years, and Alice’s entire perception of herself is shattered.  
 
As her son’s new reputation polarizes her friendships and her family buzzes with the ramification of her mother’s choices, Alice realizes that she’s been too focused on measuring her success and happiness by everyone else's standards. Now, with all her shortcomings laid bare, she’ll have to figure out to whom to turn for help and decide who she really wants to be.



Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐
Are We There Yet? is an intriguing bit of domestic drama. I'll admit that this genre is a bit of hit or miss for me, often leaning toward the latter, but Kathleen West does such a good job of getting into the heads of these characters that I was quickly caught up in their lives. This is a story about tweens and their parents - each with different parenting styles, but more than that, it's about things not always being what we think they are and how quickly what seems like an as close to perfect as possible life can spiral out of control. 
Rather than get into spoiler territory, I'll just tell you what stood out most for me was the characters. Love them or hate them, and most were in the latter category, they felt real enough to touch. These felt like people I'd see around my small town, people others might gossip with or gossip about, people I could know. I may not have agreed with many of the decisions these characters made, but the whole thing felt like something you could hear about in real life. And at the same time, West gives us a nice little escape from our everyday lives as we get sucked into Alice's drama.
To sum it up,. Are We There Yet? is well written with a steady pace, and the characters are wonderfully drawn. This is my first time reading Kathleen West's work, but it certainly won't be my last, and I'd recommend this one to anyone who enjoys domestic drama or women's fiction. 

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Kathleen West is a veteran middle and high-school teacher. She graduated with a degree in English from Macalester College and holds a Master's degree in literacy education from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis with her hilarious husband, two sporty sons, and very bad goldendoodle.




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