“It would be hard to beat a man senseless with a plastic Hula-Hoop covered in sparkles, and yet for a long and rather pleasant moment, I consider trying.”Chapter 1, “The Overdue Life of Amy Byler” by Kelly Harms
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Growing up, my mom would bring us to the library several times over the summer months.
I would lose myself in those stories. I would start before bed, read for several hours until I was sleepy, and then resume reading as soon as I awoke.
But when I became old enough to drive and took on summer jobs, reading fiction became a thing of the past. During the school year, I’d read textbooks and assigned literature for a grade. In college, I gravitated towards self-help books, the first being something related to personal finance, no doubt.
And my self-help book obsession spiraled from there.
But over a year ago, I fell back in love with reading novels.
And it’s been my mission since to read at least one fiction and one non-fiction (err…self-help) at any given time.
Granted, it takes me much longer to finish a book than it did back in my high school years.
In June, I started reading “The Overdue Life of Amy Byler.” To be honest, I’m not sure how I got a copy of it on my Kindle. I’m thinking it was something I picked for free as one of my Amazon Prime perks.
And wowza – I picked a great one!
Published on May 1, 2019, I’m willing to bet that this book will soon take off within the stay-at-home or single mom communities and be named a New York Times Bestseller before the year’s over!
“The Overdue Life of Amy Byler” Plot Summary
No spoilers, I promise!
At first glance, it doesn’t seem like it would be about a stay-at-home mom of two, Amy, from Pennsylvania whose husband, John, abandoned her family to go to Japan, which forced her to find work outside the home as a librarian so she can keep her family financially afloat.
Amy bumps into John three years later at the drug store and he offers to reconcile and watch the kids for a few weeks. Reluctantly, she accepts his offer and plans a trip to New York City to attend a librarian conference and visit with an old girlfriend, Talia, who doesn’t have kids.
A busy editor of a magazine, Talia gets her assistant, Matt, to schedule things for Amy to do while there. All Amy wants to do is read, but she ultimately agrees to the free makeover and wardrobe – courtesy of the magazine. Unbeknownst to her, Matt plans on writing a feature story about her vacation away from her kids, which he refers to as a momspringa.
What I Loved
Within the very first chapter, I fell in love with Amy.
Kelly Harms does a marvelous job of capturing the thoughts of a modern mother.
The chapters alternate between letters written to Amy from her daughter, Cori, and Amy’s first-person narrative.
A few, but not many, parts of the story dialogue are text message conversations between Amy and her girlfriends, which I felt was realistic to how a busy mom might communicate with close friends. (I mean, that’s how I do it, so…)
The fantasy of leaving your kids with your husband (or baby daddy) to have some alone time is something that Kelly tapped into. There are soooo many women out there, myself included, who are raising babies in lieu of climbing the corporate ladder who would love to get a mini-vacation where Dad took over!
This book isn’t about escaping motherhood obligations, but about putting a spotlight on the thoughts a woman has when she’s removed from her children.
How does she define herself when she isn’t caring for them?
Who is she?
I found it to be a great escape into the mind of another mother. I highly recommend it for any mother who is looking for something that is funny, relatable, and clean (sorry, it’s not Fifty Shades of Gray).
So this sounds like the book you didn’t know you were craving, see if your library has one you can borrow (mine did), purchase a hardcopy or ebook (using my links on this post), or maybe read it for free like I did with a service like Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited. (Amazon will let you know on the book’s purchase page if those options are available for any book.)