The Overdue Life of Amy Bylerby Published 01 May 2019
|The Overdue Life of Amy Byler.pdf|
|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.
Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.
But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler Reviews
I have been reading some heavy novels recently and thought it was time for something a little less oppressive. This one fit the bill perfectly.
Amy Byler is a school librarian and single mom with two kids, ages 12 and 15. Her husband up and left them for nebulous reasons three years previously. It has been a struggle to make things work, but Amy has indeed made a good life for her family even though she is worn down from her efforts. Suddenly Amy’s husband reappears and wants three months of re-bonding time with the kids, which eventually results in Amy getting a “momspringa” vacation in New York City.
This book is engaging, funny, and thought provoking. Amy finally has time to actually think about finding her true self, and to try to determine in what direction she wants her life to go. Things are complex, and Amy has much to sort through. What exactly does her husband want? How will the kids react to him? Does she still love him or is she ready to move on to someone else? Her whole recent adult life has revolved around being a wonderful mother to her kids. But at what cost to herself? Is it possible to find a way to take better care of Amy? The cast includes a couple of great longtime friends of Amy’s - a magazine editor and an ex-nun (whom I loved) who dole out advice and a couple of interesting male companions Amy connects with during her journey in New York.
Amy has a ton of decision trees in this novel, and it was fun to think about what I would do in her position. Humor is present throughout; I smiled a lot and laughed out loud several times. I also liked the fact that two of the main characters are librarians and we get some good librarian book talk in this story. Extra credit goes to Ms. Harms for her dialogue, which simply sparkles.
Amy is so easy to cheer for and I kept hoping for a way for everything to fall into place for her and her family. I looked forward to grabbing the book every time I had a few minutes to read; I felt invested in the characters and was engrossed in their story.
I recommend The Overdue Life of Amy Byler to anyone looking for a quick, easy, and fun read featuring a very likeable main character on a thoughtful journey.
Thank you Net Galley, Lake Union Publishing, and Kelly Harms for the gift of an advanced review copy. Thanks also to Sonja Yoerg for kindly bringing this book to my attention. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round up.
"I have suffered plenty. I am a poster child for low-grade chronic suffering. If an ad agency wanted to make suffering into a thirty-second spot, they would make a time-lapse video of me in my three colors of elastic-waistband teacher pants shoveling eight inches of snow at five a.m. so my kids can get to their early-bird activities on time, then teaching 250 overprivileged kids how to not use computers for porn for ten hours, and then collapsing in front of Outlander too tired to even find, much less turn on, my vibrator at the end of the day."
For the last three years, Amy Byler has been the sole provider for her two children: 15-year-old Cori and 12-year-old Joe. She's barely keeping her head above water financially, working as a school librarian in order to keep her kids in private school, tending to the myriad repair needs of their beautiful yet historic (read: old) Pennsylvania house, and doing all of the disciplining, the chauffeuring, and everything else. That's been the drill since her husband left for a business trip in Hong Kong and decided not to come back.
But now, John is back. He's realized he has been a terrible father and he wants to be a part of his children's lives again. He asks Amy to give him a week with the kids so he can begin seeking their forgiveness. (Much to Amy's chagrin, he accepts all of her criticisms and angry insults, and keeps apologizing, but he doesn't seem too interested in her forgiveness.) Reluctantly, she takes him up on his offer, and heads to New York for a week to attend a library conference.
When Amy arrives in New York, the scene of some crazy college days, she's looking forward to a week of professional development, sleeping in, and reading a ton of books. Instead, she starts to let her hair down a little bit, and even meets a handsome librarian along the way. But she still can't stop worrying about her husband spending time with the kids, whether he's going to make some colossal mistake, or—worse—whether her kids will even miss her.
Her old college friend, now the editor of a lifestyle magazine, convinces/orders Amy to get a total makeover, and sets her on a course for a real vacation from parenting, a #momspringa, if you will. When her husband asks to spend the summer with the kids, Amy's newfound freedom turns into a real adventure followed by the magazine's readers. She takes advantage of all the city has to offer and starts finding herself again, even going on a few blind dates. But when one man threatens to steal her heart, she has to decide whether this "new Amy" will still exist when she returns home, and what it means for everything—and everyone—if she doesn't.
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler was utterly charming, laugh-out-loud funny in parts, and an enjoyably thought-provoking read. Not being a woman or a parent, I may have missed some of the nuances of the story, but I think the book did a great job exploring the challenges women face as mothers, when they sacrifice everything else for their children and supporting their family. But when they do that, do they put their relationship with their spouse at risk, too, or is that something they shouldn't worry about?
I enjoyed many of the characters in this book, from Amy to her former-nun-now-teacher best friend Lena, "hot librarian" Daniel to self-absorbed magazine diva Talia. Sure, the plot is a bit predictable, and I felt like it dragged a bit in the middle, but I was looking for a lighter read and this book definitely delivered. This definitely fits the bill when you've been reading a lot of brooding thrillers or books heavy on emotion—while there is still poignancy here, Kelly Harms keeps the tone light as she explores serious issues.
Are you in need of a #momspringa? Wish you could have had one? The Overdue Life of Amy Byler will give you the lowdown, and entertain you, to boot.
Lake Union Publishing and Amazon First Reads provided me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!
The book will be published May 1, 2019.
See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.
Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.
You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yrralh/.
Amy Byler is a single mom with her hands full. When she’s feeling particularly overwrought, her estranged husband returns and offers to care for the kids for the summer.
Amy accepts, and she’s off to NYC. Amy has led a quiet life, but her alter ego comes out. She even goes on a couple blind dates.
One of the blind dates ends up capturing her heart, and when the summer is about to end, Amy has to decide between her new life and her old one.
Amy doesn’t get to make that choice, though, because both lives collide.
Amy is the quintessential mom who has put her children and family ahead of herself for years. She’s made so many sacrifices she feels like she no longer knows herself. It was fun and entertaining to watch her make that discovery on her “momspringa.”
The characters in the book are quite charming. Friends Talia, Daniel, and Lena really round out the story. Amy was always my favorite, though. She’s endearing and relatable, and I was captivated with how her life would turn out. I was fully absorbed in Amy’s story and loved all the bookish nods! This book is a true, refreshing escape!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
I'm in the minority on this one.
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler is a cute, quick, predictable read. What you expect to happen is exactly what happens. It's a character driven novel, which is fine...I don't need constant action when books are well-written. Unfortunately, the characters seemed very much like characters, and not actual people. The dialogue reminded me of an 80s sitcom where everyone spews one-liners...even the 12 year old. The voices of Amy (the mother) and Cori (her 15 year old daughter) were virtually indistinguishable. And the constant corny jokes eventually became trite and tiresome.
Neither negative, nor positive thoughts about this story abound...which sums the book up pretty well for me. It's an unmemorable, completely average novel.
**I received a free, advanced copy of this book through Amazon's Kindle First program. All opinions are my own.
Kelly Harms has written a light, fun read about a middle aged librarian who gets a chance to have a summer to herself while her estranged husband re-bonds with his children.
When Amy Byler's husband went on a business trip to Hong Kong three years ago and never returned, she suddenly found herself a single, unemployed mother of two children with a large mortgage and no child support. Life gradually got better once she got herself a job as a school librarian and re-mortgaged the house, but she and the kids have had to budget carefully and she has got used to being a single parent, always on call as driver, carer and worrier.
Out of the blue, her husband has returned with a wish to spend the summer reconnecting with the kids. Angry at first and then hesitant about handing over her kids, Amy goes to stay with her old college friend Talia in New York who is editor of a fashion and lifestyle magazine. She's looking forward to spending some time on her own sleeping in and reading books but Talia decides Amy needs a makeover, an agenda of activities and some hot dates. Talia calls it the 'momspringa' (like the Amish rumspringa) and decides to feature it in the magazine as something all mothers need now and again. Reluctant at first but with encouragement from Talia, her best friend ex-nun Lena and Daniel, the hot librarian she befriends at a librarians convention, Amy soon finds that she is enjoying her new improved self and breaking out of the stasis she has been in for the past three years.
This was an engaging read with interesting characters who love talking about books and plays. Beware though, it may make you want to have a 'momspringa of your own!
With thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for a digital ARC to read