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Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  148 ratings  ·  55 reviews
NEXT GENERATION Indie Book Awards, 2014
Finalist: Travel/Travel Guides
Finalist: Humor/Comedy

Finalist: Comedy-Humor
Finalist: Travel

Finalist: Fiction: General
Finalist: Best New Fiction

“You have to really want to go to Russia. A brief visit involves a lot of paperwork, and, if you want to hang around for any length o
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 20th 2014 by Small Batch Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  148 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Oct 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I received a free audio copy of this book. This is my honest review:

This book slices me right in half. There was love and there was not. I love the whole expat in Russia thing. Oh, how I love that. I love any expat-in-the-east story. But the life that the author leads while in Russia is so far removed from any life I know or care to know. It was just so keeping-up-with-the-Bulshovichs. I wanted to hear about LIFE in Russia, not so much the office politics and catty goings-on of the expat ladies'
BooksnFreshair (Poornima Apte)
The book’s premise sounds very interesting. Jennifer Eremeeva with her HrH (Handsome Russian Husband, although “there are days when I think of him as Horrible Russian Husband,” she admits) finds herself living next door to a Moscow institute that is dedicated to preserving and maintaining Lenin’s embalmed corpse. Eremeeva, an American expat, promises a lively account of her life in Moscow but I couldn’t get much past the devastating descriptions of some of her fellow expats: “Dragana was married ...more
Feb 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Eh. I struggled with this book quite a bit. At times, it read like an expat version of Sex and the City. The author seemed particularly determined to impress how wealthy and privileged she is on the reader. The cast of supporting characters was reminiscent of over the top caricatures of people no one actually wants to know or care about. I've read her blog before and enjoyed it, but for most of the book, all I thought was, "Ugh!" At the same time, she writers well and when she takes herself and ...more
When it was good, I really got into the author's depictions of Russian culture, but when it was not ... we're talking "Rich Peoples' Problems: Moscow" as a reality show, which is just the teensiest bit difficult to identify with. Your Mileage May Vary here, so AYOR as they say (At Your Own Risk).

Author's self-narration worked fairly well here, which isn't usually the case.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for a copy of this book.

Creative non-fiction, you say, ey? Well, here comes the rollicking expat life of a bunch of well-to-do characters and their Russian friends in Moscow, complete with outrageous interior decor, vicious book clubs, and elitists attitudes. Eremeeva tells her rather embellished tales with a great sense of biting humor and does not forget to blend in Russian history and foodie interests along the way. The expats in question are all somewhat disgu
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. In "Lenin Lives Next Door," Jennifer Eremeeva literally lives next door to Lenin (well, sometimes when he's removed from his mausoleum to get a chemical bath and a change of clothes so that he can look fresh every couple of months - how did I not know that he needed to get a chemical refresh???? This makes the story of how he will spend eternity even creepier). Part travelogue, part comedy, Eremeeva gives us a front row seat as to what it is like to be an American fascinated by Russia ...more
I received a free copy of the book.

I may know not that much about Russia but I know my share of expat stories. When I started reading the book I was looking forward to a humorous view on Russia and new insights for me about the country. I haven't been to Russia before but I like to travel. Books usually make me want to travel more.

I had my troubles getting into the book because the first few chapters didn't really do it for me. This eventually changed when the narration focused more on the auth
Sep 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
I probably should not write a review about a book I did not finish, but I was so disappointed. I have read the author's blog and enjoy some of her writing (and recipes) so I had higher expectations. She wrote an article a while back about dachas. Her viewpoint was almost inappropriate in an unkind manner (perhaps the reason for certain notions about Americans abroad). For me she missed the mark on that and she also missed the mark with this book. Her sarcasm was off putting and bordered nasty. I ...more
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
I received a free copy through Goodreads.

I was really looking forward to this "fish out of water" story. It took me 3 months to finish. I could only suffer through a chapter or so a week.

When reading something like this, you hope to find a way to relate to the author. Sadly, I never found that. Like other reviewers, I agree she spent too much time reminding us of how much money she had. It made her(and her friends) sound like pretentious snobs.

The only thing keeping this from being a 1 star revi
Sep 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, humor
This book wasn't what I expected. The author lives well in Russia, returns to the US every summer and drove around Moscow with an Obama sticker on her Land Rover.

Snarky and critical of modern Russia she longs for the land of the Tsars. She bitches and moans about her first world problems; such as how to get the contractors to leave and fighting with HRH [handsome Russian husband] over glassing in the balcony at their apartment. While not at the oligarch level, she mixes with them and then mocks
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
I did like some things about this book, the writing style is very nice, and the descriptive phrases really paint a picture. There were some surprise laughs.

What I did not like, it is very snobby and pretentious. She describes others as being judgemental while describing nearly all her characters in a poor light. It was like a cross of mean girl high school talk and Martha Stewart ettiquette classes. It is the Moscow version of the 1% and their problems with ladies that lunch. Not what I was expe
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
The fact that this was nominated for any awards makes me question the awards. There are some really excellent bits but an editor was badly needed. It becomes very repetitive, and if you hear once about an "alpha male" you hear it 1000 times. There has to be a better book about life in Moscow today (and not just the very rich.Loads of brand name dropping too.) ...more
Jan 22, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: giveaways
This seems like a fun read. I can't wait to get it and to read it!
Just received my book. Looking forward to reading it.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Meh. This book was a huge disappointment.

I'm really interested in Russia, and love reading first-hand accounts of how it's like to live there. This book looked particularly interesting to me because it's written by an expat - I'm an expat myself (albeit not in Russia) and I know that this weird "foreigner at home" status can sometimes give you fresh and unusual insights about life in a country.

Problem is the book doesn't deliver on that. To be fair, there is about 15% of it which is actually i
Maura Elizabeth
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
There’s a tricky balance to writing well about expat life. Some people are so wide-eyed and enamored with their adopted homes that all they do is gush about how wonderful and fascinating and inspiring life abroad is. At the other end of the spectrum are writers who complain so relentlessly about the country they’re living in and the people who inhabit it that I want to scream, “If you hate it so much, why don’t you just GO HOME?”

My preference is for the expat writer who manages to discuss his or
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book struck a real chord with me right from the start. “You have to really want to go to Russia. A brief visit involves a lot of paperwork…” says Jennifer Eremeeva in this wonderfully entertaining glimpse into that vast country which really does have to be experienced to be believed. Having struggled through many visa applications, I echo that sentiment. And I certainly recognise that arriving at the airport means running the gauntlet of “the world’s most aggressively unpleasant taxi driver ...more
Lauren McCullough
Aug 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews
Like many of the reviews, I have mixed feelings about this book.

The idea of reading about Ex-Pat life in Russia is very appealing to me, and there were certain stories that really held my fascination. I for one, was disappointed that we didn’t get the history lesson Jennifer put together. I think hearing her interpretation, combined with her real life experience and thoughts about modern life in Russia would have been a fascinating read. However, that’s not what the book is.

Instead, a lot of it
Colin Scala
Mar 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with a genuine fascination with Russian culture
Shelves: hardcover, fiction
I mostly agree with the consensus. I have mixed feelings about this book. Some parts of it were funny and insightful, but at times it did seem as if it were about rich white American expats living in Moscow rather than the "inside look at Russia" the blurb promised. It made me roll my eyes a few times, and that's not usually a good thing. If you ask me, and no one ever, ever does, I'd say it's worth reading if you're interested in Russian culture or perhaps planning to visit the country.

Jun 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Absolutely hilarious from beginning to end. Eremeeva depicts the trials & tribulations of present-day Russia with a fine appreciation for the absurd & an exquisite eye for detail. Erma Bombeck meets David Sedaris (only much, much funnier and perspicacious) with a firm grasp of Russian history & a keen eye for the ghastlier aspects of her surroundings that Martha Stewart would envy.
Charlie Jenkins
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was intrigued by the premise - an American's impressions of living in Russia from the downfall of the USSR to the present. But, in practice I found the book very boring. It doesn't have even a loose plot or chronology. The author, a rich literati, gossips about how absurd all her gay designer friends and wealthy book parties are, making an endless series of Sex and the City references. She came across as catty and impressed with herself, but rarely funny for a comedy writer. Worst of all, the ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Took me two months to finish this book. I found it really hard to read because the author was just too negative about everything. The author married a Russian guy, lived in Moscow for a while and thus decided to write "truth" about life in Russia. Such a snobby book. She wrote negatively about everything and everyone who was not in her friends' circle. Ugh. ...more
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I gave 5 stars because it gives you a real peek into the personal lives of some Russians and especially that of a foreigner living abroad. It kept my interest the entire time and shed some light on the more personal aspects of russian life compared to the broad overview most history books will give you.
Lena Cox
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut-novels
I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The spring of 1996 I answered an ad in my university’s paper, “ESL teachers for private school in Moscow, Russia.” Four months later I boarded a plane with 3 other newly graduated women headed for a yearlong contract in the former USSR’s capital. A whole hand wasn’t needed to count what I knew about Russia. I was naive and young, stumbling without a compass into a culture I knew nothing about.

What I could have used was a copy of
Erin Curley
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Book didn’t really have any real ending, and the order was a bit confusing. The book was funny tho and def painted an interesting prospective on 80s to 00s in Russia + the expat life. Happy I stumbled upon it
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Mildly interesting perspectives of an American woman married to a Russian. Not much about ordinary life and living in Russia; more of rambling tales of a woman living a sheltered life. Think, Real Housewives of Moscow. Interesting nonetheless.
Katherine McNabb
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this, but at the same time I found that I hated the author/main character as a person.
Jan 20, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
semi-autobiographical memoir/"creative nonfiction" - American spends 20 years in Russia, recounts pithy observations (read by author, for fairly authentic pronunciation) ...more
Mirta Ines Trupp
I gratefully downloaded “Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow by Jennifer Eremeeva through a free giveaway on Amazon. At the risk of being a plagiarist, I am compelled to defer to one or two on-point remarks posted by other reviewers. One likened Eremeeva’s point of view to Jane Austen’s satirical take on life. The reviewer compared lead players in Eremeeva’s memoir to beloved fictional characters, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. Another reviewer p ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Relaying a conversation between book-Jennifer and a friend author-Jennifer says that this book isn't really going to be non-fiction but more autobiographical fiction because "you cannot make this stuff up, but it does lend itself to embellishment". Did this conversation happen or is it itself a part of the embellishment? Who knows.

Jennifer Eremeeva retells (embellished?) stories of her 20-odd years living as an American in Russia after having moved there in the late 80's, just before the fall o
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining view of modern Russian life from the quick witted pen of an American married to a HRH(Handsome Russian Husband, who can also be Horrible Russian Husband) and a veteran of 20 years' vicissitudes in the former Soviet Union. Her memoir of daily life is full of snarky,boozy cocktail parties, and unsparing character sketches of the members of her "urban family"(fellow Americans and Brits of the Moscow expat community, who most memorably include a flamingly funny Venezuelan interior ...more
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Jennifer Eremeeva is an American writer, photographer, Russian historian, blogger, and humor and cooking columnist based in Moscow Russia.

Jennifer created the award-winning blog “Dividing My Time: Finding The Funnier Side of Life in Russia,” which highlights humorous and quirky aspects of her life as an expatriate in Russia, her cross-cultural marriage and offers up very digestible doses of Russi

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