Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Unkept” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.13  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  15 reviews
As the live-in manager at her father’s funeral home in Burling Gates, Missouri, Vienna Oaks has succumbed to the mediocrity and abject loneliness of her life. Her days are suspended between the mundane and the misery of her clients’ throttling grief, of changing light bulbs, and encountering strangers as bereft as she. But after orchestrating the funeral for a little boy n ...more
Paperback, 257 pages
Published March 2nd 2015 by Bannerwing Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Unkept, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Unkept

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-52
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  23 ratings  ·  15 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Unkept
Ericka Clay
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: favorites
I give this book five stars because it's soaked with my blood and tears.

But not literally. That would be gross.

Hope you enjoy it! :)
Jaye Marie
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
“…planting the tiniest seeds of hope in a person and watching them birth through a layer of grief…”

Still reeling from the unrelenting emotions I found in Dear Hearts, the Ericka Clay book I read first, I knew I was in for another painful read. And I was right.

This was no story-book romance or mystery, Ericka’s books get you by the throat and force you to witness real life as she sees it.

I know how accurate she is, for I have known people like the characters she portrays and parts of my own life
Alysyn Reinhardt
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was given to me for review. For my full review, click here

You know the Bechdel test? The one that says your novel/movie/whatever should have at least two women in it, those women should have names, & they should talk with each other about something other than a man? This book passes that test with flying colors. It was really refreshing to read a story so rooted in what it's like to grow up as a girl and live like a woman. It rightfully fits into the Women's Fiction genre.

Both of the m
Michelle Terry
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved the characters - relatable and real. Multiple layers of literature woven within a complex set of relationships, vivid scene settings and the reality of how the past lurks over our shoulder at every turn.
As a writer, I appreciated the themes, and symbols. As a reader, I couldn't wait to see what happened next. Brilliant!
eLPy eLPy
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Review of Unkept by Ericka Clay

I received an electronic copy of this book - per my request - in exchange for my honest review. :)

My Review:

One day, many weeks ago now I was checking out some of the blogs I follow. I happened across this crazy lady author I somewhat recently started following from Tipsy Lit. The post I found on this particular day was a call to reviewers and bloggers interested in reviewing her new novel Unkept. I'm not always a women's fiction fan but as with other genres if the
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it
[EN] A few days ago I saw a Blog entry that asked any followers if they would be interested in reviewing a new Book called Unkept. All that was asked was an honest review afterward. I applied. Ericka Clay was kind enough to send me the e-book version and I made it my mission to read it with an open mind since I had never read any of her other books. I finished Unkept yesterday. And I have a problem; I do not know how to review it. Should I be honest, lie or settle somewhere in between?

Unkept is
Ashley Kagaoan
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Each page of Unkept got better and better. I do wish the word unkept actually appeared in the story. I kept waiting and wanting to see it. I read the word "unkempt" a couple of times and wondered why the author didn't choose "unkept" instead. I think it would have been a nice touch.

The characters in Unkept are both intriguing and well rounded. Vienna and Heather's connection,being childhood rivals, in love with the same man and both having lost their mothers along the way, keeps the story pulsin
A. Fae
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Unkept: A Novel
By Ericka Clay

Burling Gates, Missouri, is one of those towns where many of us would have been ready to run upon graduating from high school. However, there were also girls like Vienna Oaks, our main character in Ericka Clay’s Unkept: A Novel. Vienna knew from a young age that her life would be to stay in town and help run her family’s mortuary and funeral home business. And as the ever so dutiful and hard-working daughter, she stays.

It is easy to be looked at as the one in the fam
Cynthia Rodrigues
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
For Full and detailed review, see

I wondered why Ericka had not called the book, Broken, since most of the characters were broken. The book alternates between the 1st person present tense account of Vienna Oaks and the 3rd person past tense account of Heather, her childhood nemesis. The different styles got me unconsciously supporting Vienna over Heather.

The funeral home setting is established in the first few pages. It takes a while to figure out who is
Wendy Strain
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chick-lit, literary
Deeply moving, the simple cover just doesn’t do this book justice. At the same time, it’s absolutely perfect as a representation of the story within. While it is possible to look at all of the characters in the book as living simple, vanilla kinds of lives, easily read and understood, Clay proves again and again how each life is profoundly different than what you’d expect. Full of flawed characters trying to carve out a tolerable state of existence for themselves, most of Clay’s characters have ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Unkept is a modern southern gothic novel written in a voice wholly unique to contemporary literary fiction. Two childhood enemies eke out an adult frienemy relationship when forced by circumstance back into each other's lives. Clay takes full liberty of the "grotesque" characteristics of the southern gothic genre, with broken characters who live in trash and vomit a lot. While hard to stomach some of her vivid descriptions of squalor and bodily fluids, it all serves a deeper purpose of illustrat ...more
Katie Cross
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I was skeptical about this book.

The description definitely intrigued me, but most of my motivation to read it was because I follow the author on Wattpad, and have always enjoyed her poetry. But poetry doesn't always mean good writing, you know? But I gave it a chance.

Actually, what I was surprised to find is that the store is oddly breathtaking. Even evocative. Clay uses imagery that I've never heard of anywhere else, but not to a bad effect either. What I found was that what I liked abo
Cameron Garriepy
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
**Full disclosure: I am part of the publishing team at Bannerwing Books, so I have a certain vested interest in UNKEPT. That said, we believe in our projects, and my opinion of this novel is part of why we chose to publish it.**

UNKEPT is not a story of heroic people triumphing against insurmountable odds. It is a keening song of surviving a thousand paper cuts. It's the story of damaged people wading out of the muck in their own hearts in search of finding "good enough." It is a ruthless examina
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rapid-fire review on Priscilla and her Books ...more
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-ebook
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book took me a little longer than normal to get through, admittedly it was a busy month and full of craziness, but usually if a book really pulls me in there is nothing that can take me away from it until its done. However, after saying that I must say that towards the end I did get enrapt in it. I'm having a hard time relating the title of the book to the story, but maybe I just didn't 'get' it. Regardless of that, the book was intrigui
rated it it was amazing
Jan 18, 2016
Paul Pretzer
rated it really liked it
May 12, 2015
rated it liked it
Oct 30, 2017
Michelle Vaughn
rated it liked it
Jul 05, 2015
Lia Roberts
rated it it was amazing
Jan 19, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2016
Lynda Crow
rated it liked it
Aug 12, 2019
rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2019
Brianna Childres
marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
Ashley Sapp
marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
Katie Cross
marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
Sara Litchfield
marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
marked it as to-read
Jan 29, 2015
Lisa Marie Walters
marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2015
N.J. Ember
marked it as to-read
Jan 31, 2015
marked it as to-read
Jan 31, 2015
marked it as to-read
Jan 31, 2015
Bonita Kay
marked it as to-read
Feb 01, 2015
Katy Brandes
marked it as to-read
Feb 04, 2015
marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2015
Alex Myers
marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2015
Shellie Uchtman
marked it as to-read
Feb 11, 2015
Andrew Lewis
marked it as to-read
Feb 19, 2015
MarShanda Wein
marked it as to-read
Apr 28, 2016
Ennio Gazzea
marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2016
marked it as to-read
May 12, 2017
Melissa Lynch
marked it as to-read
Feb 25, 2018
Mindy Maddux
marked it as to-read
Dec 31, 2018
marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2019
Ashley Harris
marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2020
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Fleishman Is in Trouble
  • State of Wonder
  • The Muse
  • The Cactus
  • Winter Garden
  • A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (The Tales of Dunk and Egg, #1-3)
  • If Cats Disappeared from the World
  • Tomorrow There Will Be Sun
  • Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties
  • Life and Other Near-Death Experiences
See similar books…
Ericka Clay is a published novelist and the author of Unkept and Dear Hearts. She graduated from the University of Arkansas creative writing program and has published a book of short stories and poetry.

Ericka has been awarded a number of times by Writers Digest for various short fiction pieces, she has written four novels (one of which placed as a quarter-finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough N

News & Interviews

Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
12 likes · 6 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »