I have another book review for everyone today. Today’s book is Reasons for Avoiding Friends by Megan Leavell. Thank you NetGalley and Cedar House Press for the eARC of this novel! This review will contain some spoilers to the plot of the novel.
Let’s get into it!
Publisher: Cedar House Press
Publication Date: September 14, 2021
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)/Women’s Fiction
Rating: 2/5 stars
Length: 350 pages
Tw: alcoholism, addiction
Gwen and Iris were inseparable growing up. They did everything together, until Iris moved to New York City and didn’t come back to Wisconsin. Gwen, who dreamed of life away from their small town, ended back there with her three kids and husband. Her life revolves around her kids, her house and her marriage. She struggles to fit in with the other moms in town and wonders what has her life come to. Iris is the queen of New York society. She hosts and attends galas, charity events and parties in her Manhattan penthouse with her high-power divorce attorney husband. Except Iris’ perfect life is far from perfect. When Iris’ issues come to a head, she runs back home to Westlake to Gwen. Both women try to keep their problems a secret from one another, but who knows you better than your best friend?
After reading this novel I understand that I am not the target age demographic. I enjoyed the premise, the idea that even after all that time friends could reunite was nice. It was nice that even after all that time Gwen was willing to be a friend to Iris when she had no one else. Even if it wasn’t a super strong connection. I also enjoyed the writing style. It was nice that each chapter was focused on one of the main characters. It gave clear points in the arc and gave a better understanding of the characters motives.
However, there were quite a few things I didn’t enjoy. Iris’ alcoholism didn’t seem to be taken seriously, she just left rehab and kept drinking. For a lot of the novel Iris’ alcoholism is kind of brushed off. I understand that she has to come to terms with it herself but it’s incredibly frustrating as the reader for her to be so blasé about it. For something that was such a large portion of the plot it seemed like the ending didn’t match the amount of time spent on it. I also didn’t like the constant comparison of women. So much of the novel was Gwen wishing her life were different and Iris basically regretting choosing a career over a family. I also found the ending to be weak. It didn’t really resolve anything. We knew from the beginning Iris was going to leave her husband. The conflict between Gwen and her mother wasn’t really resolved either. She never voiced her issues to her, she just kept them to herself.
My largest issue, however, was the multi-level marketing scheme Gwen falls into. MLMs are a real issue especially because of the predatory business practices. I wished the author did more to condemn mlms than just having the issue wrapped up nicely. At one point Gwen’s husband called it a pyramid scheme, but Gwen got defensive. I get that the point of that arc ending was that Iris and Gwen worked together to solve Gwen’s problem but like the fact that Gwen only makes a comment in passing about how she isn’t returning to it when they’re in New York.
Overall, this just wasn’t the book for me, but I think that there are people who will resonate with the message. I’ll make sure to link places to preorder the book below. Again, thank you again to NetGalley and Cedar House Press!
Reasons for Avoiding Friends is out September 14, 2021.
Until the next post!
Reasons for Avoiding Friends