Kelly Harms

Family Relationships Reads – Poignant, funny, relatable!

Todays’ review is a book about a single mom with 2 teenagers working as a librarian in a private school. When her estranged husband shows up after being AWOL for 3+ years, she gets a chance to spend an entire week in New York city alone to allow her kids to “bond” with their father.

This mom’s emotional conflicts and experiences in NYC form the crux of the story? Will she forgive her husband and get back with him? Will she find NEW love? How will the kids cope? At times poignant, at times hilarious; the book is a mass of emotions, prejudices, insecurities, and a messy soup of drama, just like real life!

  • Title – The Long Overdue Life of Amy Byler
  • Author – Kelly Harms

Side note, I had seen the cover on NetGalley and saw this book mentioned by some of my bookstagrammer friends. Only after reading the book, when I logged in to review the book on Amazon did I also realize that this book is a bestseller on Amazon Charts AND the Washington Post as well as a GoodReads Choice Award finalist!


Thoughts on the Book:

Honestly, the book portrays human emotions extremely well. Think Jane Austen style understanding of how people behave, just modified for the 21st century social media era! Additionally, concepts like #Momspringa and “flexthology” and “mom-figure” are quite intriguing. I wish they could be implemented for real, too!

The characters are the strength of the book. I love how well the author can write from so many different perspectives!

  • The heroine of the story, Amy – She has every right to feel resentful towards the husband who abandoned her and left her without money, job and 2 kids to feed. However, does she have the right to hold the grudge forever, especially when he is doing everything possible to correct his mistakes and improve their lives?
  • The husband – flawed, genuinely remorseful, painted in shades of gray, instead of 100% black and evil. You realize that bad husbands can be excellent dads, the two are not mutually exclusive.
  • Talia and Lena, Amy’s friends – They act partly as alter egos for Amy, sometimes as voices of reasons, sometime even as her guardian angels! How? Read the book, dear reader! 😊
  • Cori, Amy’s daughter – sweet, opportunistic, insecure, competitive, confused – a complex dichotomy of emotions like any normal teenager.

Overall, I loved the book and the storyline.

A couple of concepts did put me off though. Amy is portrayed to be a regular nerdy mom with a rounded figure, yet she is suddenly able to look stunning via a makeover and lands some gorgeous dates! Seriously? Yes, it is a fictional book, but this part jarred a bit.

The husband is ready to pay child support and pay for expensive tuitions and child camp, but never thought to send any for 3 years. The author weaved this well into the story, but my logical brain could not fully accept it. I am deducting a half point for the tiny gaps in the story, with the disclaimer that these do not detract from the book or the reading experience.

Still, the book was amazing – well worth the money! Excellent book.

Similar Works

  • Books – “The Marriage Clock” by Zara Raheem, “America for Beginners” by Leah Franqui, “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks.
  • Movies – Mrs DoubtFire, I Don’t Know How She Does it, The Intern.
  • Genres – Women’s Humorous Fiction, Family Life Fiction, Urban Romance

Until next time, Adieu and Happy Reading!

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