Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg is both tragedy and comedy

If I had seen Home Repair in a bookstore or at the library, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up.  I know that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I usually do.  What can I say, I can’t help it, we make our first judgments about a book based solely on the way the publisher has decided to market it and I know exactly the type of reader they were trying to market here.  And that reader is not me!  Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading this novel and I’m very glad the author sent it to me so I wouldn’t miss it!

On the day of their garage sale, Eve’s husband Chuck walks out on the life they’ve created together, including his young daughter and older step-son.  His betrayal opens up new wounds and old ones, including the death of her first husband, Ivan.  Home Repair is both tragedy and comedy, with Eve attempting to survive the hand that life has dealt her, along with an ageing, obnoxiously adorable mother and several love interests along the way.

A lot happens in Home Repair and a lot of it is sad and a lot of it is funny, and just some of it is cheesy.  I really could have done without the recipes for the “heartbreak diet”, but ultimately, though, this book is touching.  It ends beautifully and openly, with no questions being answered very easily and nice hope for the future.  Along the way, Eve really grows as a person, living independently and successfully raising her children.   Though my own life  is far removed from Eve’s, Rosenberg really made me feel what it would be like to have to send your oldest child off to college for the first time and it definitely made me want to go give my mom a great big hug.  Charlotte, Eve’s mother, reminded me so much of my grandmother, it is uncanny.  All of the characters in this novel are superbly written, though there were a few secondary characters that I would have liked to see more fleshed out and complete.

I loved many of Eve’s observations: they were usually very lovely.  Here is one of my favorites:

“Change was the only constant.  The rest was mysterious.  Maybe that was why people loved mystery novels and detective shows, loved trying to solve crossword puzzles.  it was time to walk the dogs, lift their leashes from the hook behind the door, put on her winter coat.

The world waited, cold, grim, alive, beautiful.  There was no saying no to it.”  (185)

One thing that I think Home Repair deserves praise for is its multicultural cast, especially after reading this reflective  passage:

Apart from Mia, she wasn’t really close to anyone who wasn’t white.  Did that mean she was a bigot?  She was not blind to the color of people’s skin; she noticed and thought about it.  She felt a separation between herself and people who were black, or Hispanic or Asian, as if they were communicating not only across cultures, but across some secret wordless wide divide.  (211)

That’s really honest and that’s all we can ask for.  Though Eve never really makes final conclusions about race, her life is more fulfilling after developing relationships, friendly and almost-romantic, with people of different races.  Rosenberg is not afraid to include characters of different races in this novel, and Eve seriously considers and tries to understand race here and it is refreshing to see.  It shouldn’t be refreshing to see, it should be perfectly normal, but unfortunately it is not.    It is something that stands out and books like this should be praised for trying to change that.

So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve exhausted your TBR

Also reviewed by: Bermudiaonion, Book Chase.

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book to review.

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8 thoughts on “Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg is both tragedy and comedy

  1. I think the cover is cute. Not sure how that relates to the book, but I’ve always had a thing for rain boots. Probably because I’ve always wanted a pair yet have no need for them.

  2. I enjoyed this review. Your opening reminds me of …. me. I am getting quite biased against the market (genre?) that this cover seems to fit. But I don’t quite have a grasp on what it is exactly. I would read this book based on this review. Thank you.

  3. Too funny — exactly what would repel you from the book, based on cover, is what would attract me. Haha! We’re all such different readers, and I love it. 🙂

    Sounds like a moving read, and I enjoyed the quotes you pulled. Watching my characters grow is really necessary for me to enjoy a story, I think, and it sounds like that’s what’s happening here. Great review!

  4. I thought Home Repair lacked something, I’m not sure exactly what. In the end I was left thinking that I just didn’t really care what happened to the characters. But I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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