Longer take: Books are so much more complicated than a 10-second review.
Both novels have blue and green on the covers. Both novels include an elderly protagonist. Both novels dive into familial dysfunction. For sure, there are similarities. But it’s been a bit since I had a little, dare I say, lighthearted, family drama on the reading docket, and Good Eggs fit the bill.
In Rebecca Hardiman’s debut effort, “Good Eggs,” Millie Gogarty is 83 and missing her husband and maybe even pining for her former self, when she was a wife and a mother and didn’t have so much time on her hands. Her penchant for misadventure soon lands her in hot water with her son Kevin, himself fumbling his way through a midlife crisis and navigating his own family’s issues, including his lack of a job, his wife’s total immersion in hers, and twin teenage daughters likely to kill each other if given the chance.
With daughter Aideen safely ensconced at a boarding school and his mother safely ensconced at home with an aide, Kevin’s got time on his hands to make things worse, which he does. But honestly, with Millie as your mom, it’s easy to understand how it could be possible Kevin was subconsciously looking for distractions, even if they are ill-advised.
Have you ever committed self-sabotage? For me now, that might look like not including dessert on my food app. But when I was a teenager? Woo boy. In “Good Eggs,” for Millie, Kevin and Aideen, that inner troll of a voice that whispers, “Go ahead, do this. It will definitely make the situation worse but, heck, why not?” appears to be playing on repeat. Yet, all three of these flawed human beings are indeed human, and good to the core. They may trip over themselves to take a debacle and blow it up into a disaster, but it never comes from the dark corner of a heart.
And this is the brilliance of writers — they can take a single thread of a story, such as a bitter older woman and an angst-ridden teenager — and before you know it have them skipping continents and chasing down criminals. And have it Make. Sense. Make. It. Believable. Once you pick it up and get hooked after a few pages, please take a few minutes to appreciate how seamlessly Hardiman transforms what could be really annoying characters, spinning them into sympathetic creatures that you’ll be rooting for, with gusto.
A great summer read with the appropriate happy ending. With this being Hardiman’s first novel, I look forward to the next endeavor.