Title: Multiple Listings
Author: Tracy McMillan
Published: March 8, 2016
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?
Inspired by the author’s life and imbued with wit and profound insight into relationships, Multiple Listings speaks poignantly—and often hilariously—about the ties that bind families of all types together.
*Thank you so much to Gallery Books for giving me this eARC for review. This does not change my thoughts about the book or the content of this review.*
I read the blurb of this book on NetGalley and I was excited because I haven’t really read any adult fiction, so I wanted to broaden my horizons and I was interested in this story. Was the family going to get back together? What was going to happen to Ronnie and Nicki? So I’m a bit upset that I wasn’t really impressed with this book. It possibly might have to do with the fact that I’m a youngin’ 20 year old, but I also just fell out of the story because of how long it felt. I’m actually surprised it’s only a little over 300 pages. It felt way longer.
Overall the story was kind of nice I think. It ended with a nice little happy bow at the end, the people that are supposed to have a good ending had a good ending and happily ever after. It’s kind of cliche and almost comical how this ends in such a clean little happy ever after. I’m more geared towards the bittersweet endings or the endings that are content. I don’t really do well with these clean happy endings. Don’t know why. It just feels really fake to me a lot of the time. It made me think like things just happened way too conveniently for everyone (well except for the ex, but he was a dick anyway so).
For instance there’s this whole gap of understanding between Nicki and her sixteen year old son Cody. They don’t really talk and all he does is play Magic, The Gathering (which oh my god). He even skips school and he’s on the verge of probation because he doesn’t tell her anything but then suddenly Ronnie comes into the picture and suddenly he’s way more talkative and Nicki can actually interact with him. I’m not saying this is improbable, this happens all the time, but it’s definitely a cliche. It’s just painfully obvious that Nicki has really no idea how to handle her son in terms of parenting. I’m not a parent so what do I know, but most of the book she’s way more invested in whatever is happening to her than… you know her kid. Like I think she thinks about Cody only when he’s physically around her in the book. Other times she’s thinking about how she doesn’t like her convict dad or how Jake (her ex) is being all weird and cryptic.
In terms of writing, the first half of the story flowed really well for me. I was reading and getting into the characters and I was really interested in how they were interacting. I was wondering how Ronnie was going to face Nicki and how Nicki was going to react etc. etc. But then the second half of the book came around and I found myself skimming through most of it. There were these huge chunks of text that I wasn’t interested in and I just was swiping through pages until I found something that caught my eye, and aha! the story stayed the same. So was that huge block of text necessary? This is for both Nicki and Ronnie (the two POV’s of this book). I even skimmed through the last ten percent of the book because I knew how it was going to end and it ended exactly that way.
Speaking of which, the predicability of this book is what kind of ruined the book for me. I’m not a fan of books where I can guess what happens in the end. Like what’s the point of reading a book if I know what’s going to happen? Again, this stuff just kind of fed into me not really believing a lot of stuff. It felt like I was watching a romcom (I’m not a fan of romcom movies) and there’s this formula that it pertains to because that’s what it’s supposed to be. If this is what “chicklit” is like, I probably won’t be reading much of it.
On top of all of this, the characters were all pretty much tropes or archetypes (feeding to it being predictable I guess right?). Sure Ronnie being a convict is a character I’m not really familiar with, but the whole womanizer con man thing is not a new idea. It’s happened many, many times. So this whole cast just felt really two dimensional. They all grew the way that they were supposed to and they all acted the way they were supposed to. It was just really boring near the end.
Again, I’m really upset that this story fell a bit flat for me! I really wanted to be entranced and like this story, but it just didn’t do it for me. Though if you’re a fan of these kinds of books, I wouldn’t knock it down just yet. It’s a good book that explores self discovery and redemption. There are some parts where I was rooting for Ronnie and Nicki and I wanted them to be better going forward. It was just unfortunate that the writing style and some of the plot line made me a bit disconnected.