Book Review: If You Lived Here You’d Be Home Now by Claire LaZebnik

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home Now
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Goodreads| Amazon| Author Website

Twenty-five year old Rickie’s life is definitely not what she expected it to be. After having a baby six years earlier, Rickie dropped out of college and moved back in with her parents to take care of her son Noah. With streaks of color in her hair and tattoos all over her body, Rickie attempts to rebel even though her family wishes she would grow up.

When Noah begins having problems at school, complaining that a certain gym teacher has been making life tough for him, Rickie marches to school to sort the problem out. What she doesn’t account for is that the gym teacher is gorgeous- and nice. Andrew is unlike any man she’s ever met, but he’s Noah’s teacher, and he has a girlfriend. Plus, Rickie would never admit that she was into him. But when an unlikely friendship develops, Rickie finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew and believed.

Let me start by saying how much I love Claire LaZebnik. I was a little surprised when I didn’t fall in love with this book, like I did her other novels. However, even though I didn’t love the plot one hundred percent, I still appreciated LaZebnik’s writing and her ability to tell a story and keep me interested and reading until the very end.

The first thing I didn’t love about this book was Rickie. Main characters should be likable, or if they’re not likeable in the beginning, the reader should grow to like them. Throughout the book, I just didn’t connect with Rickie, and I didn’t feel like I had made much progress even when I finished the book. I didn’t like Rickie’s attitude, and I definitely didn’t like the way she treated her son Noah. Her son has Celiac Disease and couldn’t eat wheat products and Rickie on more than one occasion either made something with wheat or accidentally fed him something with wheat. I mean, there’s scatterbrained and then there’s Rickie. I just found her whole demeanor hard to take. While she did grow throughout the book and was definitely easier to take towards the end, I still didn’t feel that she grew enough. Plus, the transformation happened a little too quickly for my liking. I would have liked to see Rickie develop  a little more gradually throughout the book.

Then there was the plot itself. I just wasn’t sure I understood the direction the book was going in. Much of it felt a bit slow and I couldn’t really figure out what we were working toward. However, once the storyline between Rickie and Andrew began to develop, I was instantly more interested, and felt like I understood the direction the book was moving.

Speaking of the relationship between Rickie and Andrew, I quickly fell for Andrew. It would be hard NOT to fall for Andrew. Even though it was pretty obvious that Rickie and Andrew were eventually going to fall for each other, it was so fun to watch their relationship develop over time. I love that there were struggles in their relationship, especially since Andrew had a girlfriend. I also loved how much time and energy Andrew spent on Noah- you could tell that he truly cared about the young boy. It was very sweet.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Rickie and her half-sister Melanie. Actually, I enjoyed Melanie as a character, overall, and really enjoyed getting to learn more about her life. Even though Melanie and Rickie were related, they couldn’t be more different, and definitely balanced each other out. I was glad to see Melanie begin to mend her relationship with her husband throughout the book. She added a new plot to the story, and it was nice to see Melanie through Rickie’s eyes. Also, Melanie’s wise words about Rickie’s relationship with her mother truly resonated with me.

My favorite part of this book was the lessons Rickie learned about her relationship with her own mother, and subsequently, her relationship with her son. I’m extremely close with my own mom, and I love reading about mother/daughter relationships; especially ones that are difficult and beautiful at the same time. I especially like that even after the book ended, the author’s note focused on her relationship with her mother. A wonderful and touching way to end the reading experience.



6 thoughts on “Book Review: If You Lived Here You’d Be Home Now by Claire LaZebnik”

  1. The characters sound intriguing to me, but I feel like I’d be scared of the plot – not knowing where it’s going would kill me. Fab, honest review! 🙂

  2. Yeah I had this in my hand at Borders the other day, and just couldn’t bring myself to buy it ~ something felt off. Then today I read this. Thank you intuition! lol

  3. Love when author’s notes tie everything together. Despite the issues with Rickie (and yeah, that “accidentally” cooking foods with wheat for her son is ridiculous), I think I could get into this one.

    1. Jessica Lawlor

      @Meg, I think you would enjoy this one, Meg. You’d probably find something beautiful and more poignant in the “everydayness” than I did.

  4. I kind of have a thing for unlikable characters. I kind of feel sorry for them. Sometimes. I’m not sure how I’d feel about Rickie, but the story sounds interesting to me so maybe I’ll give it a shot. I mean, I do always enjoy a hunky guy to get me interested in a book and Andrew sounds like a catch. I have really been enjoying books about family so this actually might be just the book for me. I will add it to my list. Thanks for a great review.

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I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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