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My Ex-Life

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  5,440 ratings  ·  895 reviews
The time for Stephen McCauley's breakout novel has come and My Ex-Life is it in a major way. A delicious novel for fans of Tom Perrotta, Maria Semple, and Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney about how sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back.

David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) c
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Flatiron Books
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Rebecca Not bothered by it. It's a name. Spellcheck and even an editor not familiar with every college on the planet might miss the mistake. Lots of famous…moreNot bothered by it. It's a name. Spellcheck and even an editor not familiar with every college on the planet might miss the mistake. Lots of famous and notable alums from that school.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,440 ratings  ·  895 reviews

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Larry H
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars.

In 1987, I read Stephen McCauley's The Object of My Affection . I fell head over heels in love with that book about the often-blurred lines between love and friendship, and how we sometimes confuse security for happiness. I've read it a number of times since then, and it is easily one of my favorite books. (The less said about the film adaptation with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd the better.)

Through the years, I have read all of McCauley's other books, an
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A smart, sassy and soulful look at lives re imagined with enough one liners to fill a notebook worthy of Oscar Wilde.

He knew he was best appreciated in small doses and at great distances, a fact that bothered him less than he suspected it should.’

A protagonist that describes himself in this way in the first few pages has got my attention. Of his ex-wife’s estranged husband…

’He was suspicious of the man because he made money with other people’s money, something he equated to plagiarism. More rece
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars!

This book is exactly what I needed when I picked it up. I've been reading such intense books lately that I need something a little bit on the lighter side. Now, don't get me wrong this was a light read in the sense of actions that took place however the psychological effect of this book is complex.

Have you ever been divorced because you found out your ex-husband was actually gay? We hear about it from time to time and most of the time people typically go their separate ways and lead thei
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well that book was a ton of fun! Not my usual genre but I loved this quirky, witty read.
da AL
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love and family -- or not, which is utterly refreshing! -- intelligently and sensitively portrayed. Picture George and Nina of "The Object of My Affection" (similar, not exactly them, and the fabulous book rather than the tepid movie) 30 years later. As engaging as those characters and that book were -- so are these.
Gretchen Rubin
I loved this novel, and am so excited to have discovered Stephen McCauley as a writer. I'm planning to work my way through all his books. This is funny, thought-provoking, and engaging -- with some descriptions that are so satisfactorily accurate that I wanted to read them out loud to the person sitting next to me on the subway.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
This pleasant book about interesting characters in interesting relationships would have earned a higher rating from me had it not been completely ruined for me by the author's undisguised utter loathing of conservatives and religious people, or as he calls them, "religious" people. The first negative comment, a thought that Julie has that her soon-to-be ex-husband may have voted for Mitt Romney as an act of aggression towards her, I chalked up to the character's own foibles or dislike of the rig ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every year there are at least a few entries into a genre I adore and which I call "Modern Gay Comedy of Manners." Last year I fell for Andrew Sean Greer's delicious and heartwarming Less. This year I'm glad I discovered Stephen McCauley's new book. It's not as sentimental as Greer's book, nor as romantic, but like LESS, it is concerned with the ways in which we reinvent ourselves and forge (or re-forge) families in middle age.

In his exploration of how a gay man and a straight woman can find hap
Mar 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
UPDATE: After much self debate and contemplation I did decide to leave a one star rating. I think the way I feel and my inability to stomach this book are valid reasons for the one star rating in this instance. I would not bat an eye at giving any other book I tried reading and had to abandon a low rating. Why not this one?

I have decided to not finish this book (DNF). There are too many wonderful books I would like to have time to read rather than subject myself to the feelings created within m
Janelle • She Reads with Cats
Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for providing my free copy of MY EX-LIFE by Stephen McCauley - all opinions are my own.

This is very much a character driven story with clever and witty dialogue that I absolutely LOVED!

David Hedges and Julie Fiske haven’t seen each other in almost thirty years. Julie is in the middle of a divorce. Living in New England with her teenage daughter Mandy, she loves her old Victorian house, but it is rapidly becoming a money pit. Her current ex-husband, Henry, is t
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
[3.6] My Ex-Life reminded me of an Elinor Lipman novel - witty and light with smart characters sorting through their problems. Sometimes the flippant, pithy internal dialogues and conversations felt too effortful but not enough to hinder my enjoyment. I appreciate an entertaining novel that doesn't feel cheesy or too predictable.
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
When I read a book of fiction, I hardly ever think that the characters are speaking in the voice and beliefs of the author. But here, that's all I was thinking about. There's zingers about all types of political viewpoints here and none of the characters take an opposing view, they're all coming from the liberal side and dissing the right. I didn't really notice during the first 50 pages, starting dog earing pages around 100 and gave that up at 150.

The story was so-so. This was an ARC and as an
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, arc, own
David and Julie's brief marriage ended decades ago, right after Julie discovered David having an affair...with the husband of one of their good friends. Both went their separate ways and moved on to different relationships. Julie even married and had a daughter, Mandy. But all these years later, David and Julie are both going through a rough patch. David's partner has left him for a younger man, and Julie is in the middle of a contentious divorce that's about to leave her financially drained and ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-reviews
My Ex-Life is fun, witty, and clever. A light summer read with a hint of a darker underlying edge. I definitely laughed out loud a few times while reading this amusing look at the modern family.

My Ex Life is the story of David, a gay man in San Francisco who helps rich kids get into college, Julie, David's ex-wife and current stoner mom who is getting her second divorce and must turn her home into an AirBnB with the hopes of buying out her soon-to-be-ex-husband, and Mandy, a smart, but directio
May 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Thank you to Flatiron books for providing me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, this book did not work for me.

This book is being touted as "hilarious" and I never really laughed. I found the "funny" situations that the characters were in to be boring and cliche. The characters were all very unlikable and I never felt emotionally invested in their downfalls, but more importantly, I never felt like THEY cared much about their downfalls. There was just no emotion!
Donna Hines
An ex is an ex for a reason as their meant to stay in your rear view while you peel out or so I thought...
Till death do us part, or till we meet again...whatever shall come first!
In the case of this marriage between David Hodges and Julie Fiske it was certainly short lived but not without the fireworks and fan fare.
As a college counselor he was used to making the necessary adjustments for others but what about for himself?
David decided to pursue his relationship with his partner Soren but at w
Tara - Running 'n' Reading
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
David and Julie were once married, very briefly, until David finally acknowledged his preference for men and they parted ways; they haven't seen each other in nearly thirty years but Julie, in the process of divorcing her second husband, reaches out to him to ask for help for her daughter (David has created a business providing guidance to students as they begin the college application process) and they are reunited.

David's boyfriend has left him, he has gained 20 pounds of misery, and his long
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley, 2018
Exes David and Julie are both at a crossroads in their lives. David's young boyfriend has left him for a more successful older man to whom David's landlord has decided to sell the cottage he has been living in for years. Julie is undergoing a divorce and is faced with the prospect of losing the home she has built for her and her daughter Mandy. Can these two put aside their past history and build a better future together?

My Ex-Life was a sweet novel. I found most of the characters endearing and
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really, really, really liked this book which started very humorously, but ended up tackling some really serious issues. Divorce, sexual identity, teenage angst and trying to keep true to oneself when all the rest of the world has its nose in your business. Daily, real life.
I love McCauley's writing. He does not rely on trite phrases, rather he is always fresh and innovative.
I have to catch up with the rest of his works.
Tamara Jaffe-Notier
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Light, with dark bits. A little funny. Set in Maine!
Kasa Cotugno
Although I liked this a lot, it suffered a bit by having followed a book with similar themes read earlier this week. A good example of mixing titles in order to isolate the effect. There's a small (fictitious) town by the water that seems on the downslide, with quirky characters and original situations. McCauley had fun with several secondary characters that are truly hilarious, and his central characters are three dimensional and believable.
Tim Pinckney
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is delicious from start to finish. I read it slowly because I didn't want it to end. So funny and SO smart and, at times, heartbreaking. It's a great ride. Hard to imagine anyone not handing themselves over to these fascinating, funny and beautifully drawn characters. I've read several of Mr. McCauley's books and I remain a devoted fan.

Get it and read it.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, fiction
While casting about for a new audio book for solo car trips, I listened to the first couple minutes of this, and almost immediately found myself laughing out loud. Sold. It's sort of a romcom without much rom, because one main character, David, is gay, and the other, his ex-wife, Julie, isn't. Maybe comedy of manners is a better term, but that seems a very old fashioned label for a novel in which Air B&B plays such a large role.

I did indeed end up being charmed and amused, but along the way
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: from-publishers
Thanks to Flatiron books for this ARC.

I don't know how to review this since it was just an okay book in my opinion. Nothing exciting happening unless you want to call a teenager living w/her mother and her mother's gay ex-husband from 20 years ago who moves in to help her w/her college prep and ends up staying there permanently to help his ex-wife try to buy the rundown house she lives in. The teenager gets into a predicament with a job and her mother's ex-husband gets her out of it.

It ends pred
Megan C.
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me with a copy of this one. I LOVED it! It was exactly what I needed to lighten things up after reading several dark and intense books. It's funny, witty, kind, and authentic. Full review coming soon, but if you're looking for something to freshen up your reading and give you the giggles, (while also dishing out characters you'll fall in love with), pick this one up!
Olga Fry
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I know people are crazy about "My Ex-Life" and for a good while, I was too. I was eager to stay in the world that Stephen McCauley composed but I thought that the book began to drag on toward the end, it became a slog to try and finish.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think this is his best one yet! Funny, wry, a bit catty (but in a good way), and also poignant.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a Hoot! The characters are utterly on point. I've been recommending it to one and all since the first few pages. Thank you for a true keeper.
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway
Thank you to the publishers and the author for the chance to read this book in advance!

I really enjoyed this novel and I think I can pinpoint the exact reason as to why: I have never before read someone describe human nature and thoughts in such a scarily accurate yet comprehensible way. I felt like Stephen McCauley was inside my brain. Or maybe I was inside his, I don't know. The way he describes how people act, how people react, why they do what they do, how they judge people and why...I don't
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
My Ex-Life was an interesting, witty, and drama filled novel that explores how we define family. Julie's life is falling apart- in the middle of a volatile divorce, with a teenage daughter that has no goals or motivation for college, and she has started running a B&B out of her ramshackle home for extra money but has no clue what she's doing. Her daughter finds a box from her past life and on a sentimental whim, Julie calls her ex-husband David. His life, clear on the other side of the US fr ...more
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“Among the many hypocrisies of the “religious” was the fact that they viewed god as omnipotent, but treated Him like a ventriloquist’s dummy by putting their words and crackpot beliefs, prejudices, and unfounded biases into His mouth whenever it suited their purposes.” 2 likes
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