Imagine a couple dysfunctional families, Thanksgiving Day, and a concealed pregnancy resulting from infidelity, and you’ve got Start Without Me by Joshua Max Feldman.
The story happens over the course of one day, which happens to be Thanksgiving. Two strangers meet in a hotel bar, and from there, their stories intertwine as they attempt to navigate the day with their families. Our main characters, Adam and Marissa, both have a large reason why they’re not looking forward to going home to their families. For Adam, his alcoholism (now in recovery) made him estranged from his family. For Marissa, she’s pregnant by an ex – not her husband.
I don’t want to give away much, but the day just goes nuts. To put it bluntly, shit hits the fan.
If you’re a fan of dysfunctional family stories like The Nest, you’ll probably like this one. It’s crazy, but it’s also really filled with heart at some points, which I appreciated. The writing style was straightforward yet detailed and expressive, which made it a good, quick read.
I’ll give this one 3.5 stars. It was definitely something I wanted to keep reading – not at all boring! More like crazy 🙂 I’ll leave the synopsis here, in case your interest is piqued!
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
About Start Without Me
• Hardcover: 288 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (October 17, 2017)
The author of the critically acclaimed The Book of Jonah explores questions of love and choice, disappointment and hope in the lives of two strangers who meet by chance in this mesmerizing tale that unfolds over one Thanksgiving Day.
Adam is a former musician and recovering alcoholic who is home for Thanksgiving for the first time in many years. Surrounded by his parents and siblings, nieces and nephews—all who have seen him at his worst—he can’t shake the feeling that no matter how hard he tries, he’ll always be the one who can’t get it right.
Marissa is a flight attendant whose marriage is strained by simmering tensions over race, class, and ambition. Heading to her in-laws for their picture-perfect holiday family dinner, her anxiety is intensified by the knowledge she is pregnant from an impulsive one-night-stand.
In an airport restaurant on Thanksgiving morning, Adam and Marissa meet. Over the course of this day fraught with emotion and expectation, these two strangers will form an unlikely bond as they reckon with their family ties, their pasts, and the choices that will determine their way forward.
Joshua Max Feldman focuses his knowing eye on one of the last bastions of classical American idealism, the Thanksgiving family gathering, as he explores our struggles to know—and to be—our best selves. Hilarious and heartrending, Start Without Me is a thoughtful and entertaining page-turner that will leave its indelible mark on your heart.