Ingrid Winter is a mother of 3 working as a literature professor and full of anxiety, paranoia and the victim of an overactive imagination. In an attempt to purchase her dream home, she strains her family’s finance as well as her marriage. And to make matters worse, extra responsibilities from the PTA and her university chair a constantly thrown on her lap, such as a trip to Russia to establish internationalization and bilateral communication. What does that exactly mean? Ingrid doesn’t even know, but to avoid being sentenced to the preschool program she reluctantly agrees to the trip. What she finds in Russia is a little bit of comfort, a little bit of crazy and a whole lot of cough syrup.
This book was one of the Kindle first selections this month and sounded interesting, but after reading all 200+ pages, I wish I would have picked a different story. 😦
Right now, when everyone was relatively content and no one was screaming because they had to put on their jacket or shoes. Right now, when everyone was present and no one had remembered they had PE or swimming yet. This moment of harmony and peace. Of security. I wanted this to go on and on, to last.
What immediately grabbed my attention was the brutal honesty about parenting and life in general, and I loved it. Ingrid seemed real and one of those mother’s you meet when dropping you child off at school. One of the few mothers you can actually talk to and discuss things with, but what I liked about this book at first quickly turned into one of my biggest peeves.
She’s honest about how the first 2 kids she made lots of mistakes and forgot almost every school event, but with her 3rd child she has finally mastered how things work. I appreciated this because, unfortunately, it does feel like we make a lot of mistakes with our first child and when another baby comes along, things just effortlessly happen.
But Ingrid is full of anxieties and has a highly overactive imagination for an adult. She goes on and rambles in her class comparing a literary figure to the Matrix and confusing the daylights out of her students. She avoids contact with her fellow professors and procrastinates on writing her article that she should have finished weeks before, and then the house.
She comes across this house and imagines it to be this perfect new home for her family that has outgrown their current location. She then purchases the house for almost double the agreed upon price and this puts her already strained relationship with her husband on pins and needles. I was so mad at her for this! I think I even wrote a note along the lines of “WTF is she doing!”
I ended up not liking a lot of her personality traits, which I don’t think was intentional because she was the main character.
Then this trip to Russia had me frantically typing “WTF” on my kindle, page after page. The entire scene of obtaining her visa to travel to Russia was stereotypical and offensive. Perhaps this was meant to be funny and just didn’t come off that way for me. Maybe in translating the book, the nuances of this scene that make it funny were misinterpreted, ut I was offended and I’m not Russian!
The constant over-exaggerated daydreams, the panic to hide the idol, the nicknaming of all of the Russians she meets, and then the cough syrup! The woman was high on cough syrup the majority of her trip in Russia!
In the end, what saved this book was the the short chapters. While I would have much rather a different book to read and had to make myself go back to read it, there were some funny moments and the book was small.
Ultimately that is what garnered the 2 star rating, because I would not recommend this book, did not enjoy the bulk of it and was a little sad I used my Kindle first option on it. I wanted to like this book, I really really did.
C’est la vie!