“Like A House on Fire” by Lauren McBrayer
Who am I? The human brain is likely unique in being able to process that question. It is one of the most fundamental questions that humans are challenged to answer. Some choose to avoid, deny, or obfuscate. Others are honest, but find that their answer at one phase of life is no longer the same at a later stage.
This is particularly true for individuals who have the privilege of choosing a partner and deciding to have children. The initial choice of mate is most always a bit of a gamble. There’s love, passion, hope, and dreams, but nothing is guaranteed. The romance of the wonderment of having children usually takes a hit during pregnancy, delivery, postpartum, or at least forever after. For many, if not most, the question of, “Who am I?” undergoes a transformation. What was once important has changed. Some people come out the other side finding that those initial aspirations, that burst of love and passion, those initial plans and dreams may get tweaked, but the mates can adjust, the relationship can evolve and remain. For others, change is more fundamental.
This is what Lauren McBrayer addresses in her funny, sexy, sad, and moving debut novel, “Like A House on Fire”. Merit Is a creative, smart, talented, ambitious woman who thought she had found the perfect match for life. Two children, abandonment of artistic ambitions, and years later, Mer looked up and decided that this is not who she is, certainly not who she wanted to be. Her dream spouse has essentially checked out and doesn’t understand what could possibly be the problem.
Navigating these choppy waters is often the most important decision that people ever face. There are many forks on the roads ahead. There are myriad opportunities to take wrong turns. Mer doesn’t have too many people to help her decide. It will take a strong woman to survive. Can she do it?
I’m not sure of Ms. McBrayer’s bio, but she sure seems to know what she’s talking about. There are twists, turns, surprises, and “bring me the tissues” moments. “Like a House on Fire” is a strong read which gives lots of food for thought.
Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons and NetGalley for the eARC.