A Book Review: Reasons for Avoiding Friends

Gwen, a mother of three, a wife of an unemployed husband, and a daughter of a perfectionist mother, found herself looking in the mirror with a question - what happened to her life? Dissatisfied,  she hoped she had the life of Iris, who must have had an incredible time in New York. 

Iris, a trophy wife of a "divorce attorney extraordinaire” who is ten and half years her senior, and a stepmother of his two intimidating daughters, found herself hiding in her room from the people at the party she organized, feeling like an outcast. Wasn't it the life that she ever wanted? Why wasn't she happy?

Two women who used to be best of friends took different paths that pushed them apart for more than twenty years. They were longing to be saved from their miserable lives but they got nobody to turn to until their paths crossed again. Megan Leavell, an author of several bestselling novels using the pen name Olivia Miles, invites readers to become involved in their search for true happiness.

Pluses and Minuses

The story reminded me of some characters in TV and movie shows. Gwen reminds me of Claire Dunphy in Episode 14 of Season 1 of the Modern Family when Claire compared herself to her successful old friend; Gwen's mother, Eileen, gave me the vibe of Naomi Bunch who has high expectations of her daughter, Rebecca Bunch, in Crazy Ex-girlfriend; and the women in Gwen’s neighborhood, are comparable to the condescending “plastics” from Mean Girls. 

The familiarity of the characters facilitates connection with them but the plot development was too slow for me that I wanted to quit the book midway. My curiosity about how the two main characters resolve their problems kept me going. However, my anticipation turned into a tepid reception of the moment they met after twenty years without communication and the moment their vulnerability uncovered their secrets. I was expecting a big drama but I guess the novel was intended to be a light read. 

The author was still able to deliver the message of the book-- the people we love are more important than material things we have, which I greatly appreciate. She prodded me to reflect on my priorities.

Thank you, Megan Leavell, Cedar House Press, and NetGalley for the Advance Reader Copy for the chance to review this book. I understand that I would give Reasons for Avoiding Friends an honest review.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you think about the title of the book? What came to your mind after reading it?

  2. Describe the book cover. 

  3. What expectations did you have based on the book cover?

  4. Was the author able to meet your expectations?

  5. What questions did you have after reading the book?

Further Information

Title: Reasons for Avoiding Friends

Author: Megan Leavell

Genre: Fiction, Women Fiction

Publisher: Cedar House Press (September 14, 2021)

Publication Date: September 14, 2021

Print length: 305 pages


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First Line:

“Season’s Greeting, Friends and family, and a Happy New Year!”