Please Note: I received an advanced readers copy (ARC) from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinions in any way.
Synopsis (From GoodReads):What would you do if your ex-con father suddenly came to visit…indefinitely? Family drama ensues when Nicki’s dad unexpectedly moves in with her, her son, and her boyfriend in this comedic novel from successful TV writer Tracy McMillan.
Nicki Daniels owns a home appraisal business, but real estate is her true passion: she lives for open houses and really knows her way around a floor plan. And especially at this juncture of her life, real estate has come to signify the stability she is trying to build with her teenage son, Cody, and her much younger boyfriend, Jake. She’s finally ready to find the perfect house for the three of them and work on a new business venture with Jake that she thinks will jump-start their lives together.
Meanwhile, Ronnie, a longtime inmate at a nearby correctional facility, is getting some good news for once—there was a mistake in his sentencing, and he’s eligible to get out of prison. After a sixty-day stay in a halfway house, Ronnie decides his best option to avoid homelessness is to move in with his estranged daughter: Nicki. Even though they haven’t spoken in years, her door is always open to him, right?
Review:When I first requested Multiple Listings, by Tracy McMillan on NetGalley, I will admit that I was initially drawn to the cover art. I then read the description and was immediately interested. A successful woman in the midst of a family crisis? I can identify with that!
What I liked:
Nikki: Nikki is a woman who appears to have it all: She owns a home, has a thriving business, and is dating a handsome, younger man. I empathized with how Nikki, despite having all this, still had deep insecurities and shame about her childhood. This affects all of her relationships. This book is a comedy, but I felt it packed an emotional punch as well.
Ronnie: Ronnie is Nikki's father who was just released from prison. At first Ronnie reformation seems like it's too good to be true. And it is, as he messes up and must face the consequences of his actions. I liked that he also began to work on repairing his relationship with Nikki. He understood how his absence altered Nikki's life.
If they make a movie out of this, I think Alec Baldwin would make a perfect Ronnie.
The Real Estate tie-ins: From the title of the book on, the author sprinkles in the psychology of home buying and the real estate industry as metaphors to what is happening in the story. I found this engaging and it was a fun way to weave everything together.
What I didn't like:
Nikki's troubled teenage son transforms into a happy young adult because Ronnie is there to teach him to become a man. This is so insulting to single mothers and their kids. Plenty of boys who were raised by single mothers turn out just fine (ever heard of a guy named Obama?).
Nikki's other friend, Peaches, also seems like a caricature of the tough, but loyal friend. Peaches still acts like an obnoxious teen and Nikki is fine with that? There is some growth to Peaches later in the novel, but I think it comes a little too quickly, and conveniently, in the story.
It may seem as though I didn't like this book, but I really did enjoy it. It was funny, and I could identify with Nikki trying to figure out how to relate to her father as an adult. I think this is something that many people struggle with. Can we let go of the hurt we feel from the things our parents put us through as kids? Can we see our parents as fellow adults? Can our parents see us, and respect us, as adults? These are some of the themes explored in this novel. It is an entertaining book that would be a great Spring Break read.
Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Recommendation: A fun book that also explores serious issues. This would be a great book to read on a vacation or a sunny weekend by the pool.