Book Review: Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

Houses 1

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publish Date:  April 3, 2018

I laughed, I cried, and I laughed a lot more about this poignant story on carpools, coffee, and secrets.

This book has the humor, friendships, and families that remind me of Big Little Lies.

I received an advance copy of this book from Berkley Publishing through Edelweiss.


At any given moment in other people’s houses, you can find…repressed hopes and dreams…moments of unexpected joy…someone making love on the floor to a man who is most definitely not her husband…

*record scratch*

As the longtime local carpool mom, Frances Bloom is sometimes an unwilling witness to her neighbors’ private lives. She knows her cousin is hiding her desire for another baby from her spouse, Bill Horton’s wife is mysteriously missing, and now this…

After the shock of seeing Anne Porter in all her extramarital glory, Frances vows to stay in her own lane. But that’s a notion easier said than done when Anne’s husband throws her out a couple of days later. The repercussions of the affair reverberate through the four carpool families–and Frances finds herself navigating a moral minefield that could make or break a marriage.

The story revolves around 4 families that live on the same block. The book comes with a handy illustrated street map and character list. I loved these cheat sheets!

This funny and touching novel explores the themes of marriage, infidelity, family, midlife struggles, parenting,  friendship, and the challenges of daily life. It reminds us that each house on a street can represent a whole different universe because of the people living there, and you never really know what happens behind closed doors.

Abbi Waxman takes mundane daily activities and injects humor into situations where it’s least expected. I loved her writing style, the characters, the stories, and the humor is a perfect match for me. She had me hooked at the book’s dedication page and it continued all the way to the end of the book.

I especially liked the main character, Frances Bloom, the mom that is the proverbial glue that holds the neighborhood together. She is a “carpool” driver (ironically, a carpool implies people taking turns driving, but she is the only driver), soccer mama, doctor, confidante, friend, party planner, and everyone adores her. She is the neighbor that you wish that you had!

I sympathized with Frances and her teen daughter Ava’s tension filled relationship. Ava’s harsh treatment of her mother had me boiling mad. If my teen daughters ever dare to say those things to me, I will not be reacting as calmly as Frances did!

Anne and Charlie Porter’s story tore my heart in two, especially the aftermath when Anne’s affair was blown wide open. Charlie’s heartbreak and their children’s confusion at their parents’ separation had me in tears.

Abbi Waxman’s writing style is warm, casual and conversational. She writes like she is having a chat with a good friend. There are a lot of characters in the book, but she does a great job making each one distinct so that you can keep them straight.

Some reviews have mentioned the frequent profanity in the book, but I loved it and thought it was hilariously damn funny! Closet potty mouths will appreciate the crude humor.

If you enjoy books that center around mom struggles with a big serving of laughs, like Big Little Lies, Where’d You Go Bernadette, Class Moms, Today Will Be Different, and Confessions of a Domestic Failure, you will definitely like this book!

This quote is in the beginning of the book and says it perfectly:

7 thoughts

  1. I am reading this right now it is so good! I love Francis and see a lot of myself and her and my daughter and I had a pretty contemptuous relationship when she was 14, but Ava has her beat when it comes to hurtful words! Yikes!
    The profanity does not bother me it makes it more real, really enjoying and I always enjoy when a book takes place where I live! Thank you for your wonderful review!😘


    1. Thank you, Berit! I’m so happy that you are enjoying it too. This book is so relatable for mothers of teens. I loved it and it is SO funny.


  2. I just finished this one today and I agree 100%; if you can’t handle the language, you probably can’t even fully appreciate this book – hahaha! I thought it was really fun, yet also thoughtful, and I loved the characters. In spite of their woes, there were some pretty comical moments in there with Richard, the kids, Charlie yelling at Anne in the street…it actually sounds like a super fun neighborhood vibe, right? I’m so glad you enjoyed this one!


    1. Tara, I’m glad that you enjoyed it too! When I started the book, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, but it’s so nice to find these surprise gems once in a while.


  3. I’ve been seeing this one around quite a bit this last week and am happy to read another positive review. Somehow it feels like a summer read to me, so I’m going to add it to my TBR list and keep it in mind for then. (I just read The Family Next Door which was also compared to Big Little Lies and I didn’t much like it, but this one sounds like much more fun!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Susie, this is a perfect book to read by the beach or pool, I hop that you give it a try! I also read The Family Next Door but I like this one better.


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