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Review: Early Morning Riser

Early Morning Riser

Title: Early Morning Riser
Author: Katherine Heiny
Genre: Literary Fiction, Family drama
Page Count: 317
Published by: Penguin Random House
Date Published: April 13, 2021
You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Goodreads Synopsis:

Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan’s old girlfriends everywhere–at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away.

While Jane may be able to come to terms with dating the world’s most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she did not have to share him quite so widely. His ex-wife, Aggie, a woman with shiny hair and pale milkmaid skin, still has Duncan mow her lawn. His coworker, Jimmy, comes and goes from Duncan’s apartment at the most inopportune times. Sometimes Jane wonders if a relationship can even work with three people in it–never mind four. Five if you count Aggie’s eccentric husband, Gary. Not to mention all the other residents of Boyne City, who freely share with Jane their opinions of her choices.

But any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash. Soon Jane’s life is permanently intertwined with Duncan’s, Aggie’s, and Jimmy’s, and Jane knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But could it be possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of Jane’s eyes?

Overall Thoughts:

While the blurb could easily make you think this is a romance novel, which it is to some degree, the heart of this novel is really about relationships in general – friendship, mothers, daughters, spouse, neighbour – and the peril and beauty within them.

Not a lot happens in Early Morning Riser, there is no immediacy or push, and yet it is completely unputdownable, wanting to know what happens next in Jane’s life. This is a simple, escapist, intelligent read that is as comforting as a bubble bath and chocolate. There are many opportunities that Katherine Heiny could’ve packed in the “gotcha” moment and made this a weep-fest, but I appreciate it all the more that she didn’t. 

There is beauty in the quiet life, there are small hurts and great joys, and it doesn’t make it any less interesting than the flashy, scheduled-to-the-max, loud, hustle lives that we are encouraged to want. Read this one when you need a comfort and escape to the small town we all wish we lived in.

Read This If:

  • Love small town settings with quirky neighbours … basically Gilmore Girls. 
  • Looking for a comfort read with intelligence and heart.
  • Are missing a sense of family & community connection and want to live vicariously. 

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