NOTE: This review was previously posted on Berkshire Family Focus.
“Somewhere in the losing of my love for Anne, I lost a little bit of my love for everything else.” ~ “I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You,” by Courtney Maum, 336 pages. $25.99.
From the Oprah Magazine to Glamour, the Today Show to People Magazine, Courtney Maum’s debut novel, “I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You,” has made some pretty notable Top 10 must-read lists. And if I had A Top 10 list of some sort here, it’s be on that, too. Why? Well if you are married or have been married, have a child or children, have a significant other, and/or have fallen in and out of love and back in love again with said significant other, you’ll understand, because ”I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You” is about all that and more.
Maum’s protagonist, Richard Haddon, is experiencing the infamous “Seven Year Itch” in his relationship with wife, Anne. In fact, for seven months this 30-something Brit scratched that itch with American Lisa, while his French wife Anne strived to maintain a successful law career in Paris, mother the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, Cam, run a household, cook, clean, pay the bills, run to doctor’s appointments … Well, it didn’t exactly say all that in the book, but most mom’s out there will get the point. And now, Richard, the poor, unloved, under-nurtured, underwhelming artist and husband is devastated because Lisa has left him and Anne has found out about the affair. And why shouldn’t he be? Afterall, he was feeling left out and unimportant, and missed the passion, the spontaneity, the ease of young love and, well of course, the sex from earlier in his relationship with his wife, and Lisa was filling that void, until she up and left him. Now Richard is left to salvage his career as a “real” artist and not one who sells out to create “consumer art”; his marriage; his self-worth; and his life. But can he?
The fact that Maum, a married 30-something and new mom to a 9 month old, can capture married life after children so well (she wrote this while pregnant by the way) leaves me wondering if she has an older child she has been hiding? But to that she says, “I have been married to a french film director named Diego Ongaro since 2005.”
Enough said … even with my limited math ability, I know what nine years of marriage can bring. Especially, if like Maum, you and your spouse both work from home in a very rural town in the Berkshires, far, far away from civilization and … people. OK, there’s people, and they’re civilized, but this girl gets it. Marriage, after the honeymoon, is tough.
“We have a great relationship, but we need to travel a lot in order to keep things fresh,” Maum tells me. “Working from home together in the Berkshires during the winter can be hard, so it’s good to have something to look forward to. In fact, in all realms of life I think it’s important to have something to look forward to.”
But what I was looking to most, in talking to Courtney, was why she chose to write this book from Richard’s point of view, because I’m sure, she could have done a bang up job of writing in Anne’s voice. Couldn’t we all, ladies?
“I wrote from the man’s point of view because it allowed me to incorporate humor. If I’d written from Anne’s point of view, she would have been angry and anger is not a fun emotion to read!” she says. “Richard gets to be remorseful, hopeful, pitiful, nervous, nostalgic … I’m not saying the these are more interesting emotions, but they are more enjoyable to read than hurt, angry, hateful and depressed — and more fun to write!”
I think this book, just released in June, is already climbing the literary charts because so many of us can relate to Richard, even if it’s difficult for us to admit. We may not have had a fling with a gorgeous foreigner to make ourselves feel better, but we just may have imagined (or if we’re lucky), spent our slumber dreaming about a torrid love affair with some young hottie such as, say, Channing Tatum, and believe he may just pop off the screen and into to our lives to sweep us away for a sultry weekend. Or maybe, we’ve reveled in the fact that some local bartender carded us, and looked up at our id in disbelief when he learned we were over 40, and then let us know how good we looked for our age. *flirting* Or maybe when we were walking in the mall with our teenaged daughter and heard someone shout a lewd comment at us, we turned to smile, knowing we still had it, and then realized they were shouting to our daughter, at which point we kicked into mommy mode. I’m not saying, that I have experienced all this, I’m just saying …
I’m also saying, get this book. It’ll be one of the best decisions you make all summer. Oh wait, maybe the best decision you can make all summer is to enter this book giveaway … Yup, Courtney, and her publisher have been gracious enough to give us one of these books to give away to one lucky reader.
To enter, all you have to do is give us a shout-out in the comment section below or on Facebook or Twitter or on Courtney’s Twitter or Tumblr (be sure to tag both of us on social media so we know) and let us know how many years you’ve been married. That’s it. Not married? Then give a shout-out to Courtney on social media such as “You have to read this awesome new book by @cmaum. The review on @BerkFamilyFocus is great. And I’m entered to win it.” Or something to that affect. You have until next Thursday, July 17, at 11:59 p.m. EST. to do so. Then check back here on Friday to see if you have won.
Good luck and … May the odds be ever in your favor!
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