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My Ex-Life

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  8,164 ratings  ·  1,178 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 an…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)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,164 ratings  ·  1,178 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,
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.
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
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.
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
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
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 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!
Janelle Janson
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
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 directi
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, own, arc
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
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
Aug 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
When I started writing this review I was leaning towards opening with some bullshit diatribe about whether it was worse to be predictable or implausible. And as I was shaping my argument – in favor of neither – I realized it was all for naught. It did, however, raise an entirely other question: can something be both predictable AND implausible? In the case of Stephen McCauley’s latest novel, My Ex-Life, the answer is a resounding yes.

Yet it was neither the book’s predictability or implausibilit
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.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I’ve read by McCauley after the pleasurable Alternatives To Sex that I read about a decade ago. This one is considerably better although Alternatives was enjoyable as well. I never read The Object Of My Affection which was made into a pretty successful movie several years ago. Witty, acerbic, biting, pleasurable, gay and with more political proselytizing that i previously recall from him. Right on! ....McCauley has not lost his touch. Very enjoyable!
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
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, audio
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 airbnb plays such a large role.

I did indeed end up being charmed and amused, but along the way, I f
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, net-galley
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
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.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
I think I must have missed the "humor" in this. I made it through about a third of it and was so bored I thought I might fall asleep. There was the occasional one-liner that was funny enough, but without a half decent plot to back those up, I lost interest pretty quickly.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
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
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.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, lgtbq, 2020-reads
I went through a huge Stephen McCauley phase in the early 1990s, but haven't read anything since. And his stories are still wonderful, greatly drawn characters with (sometimes) complicated circumstances. This was great fun, now I want to go back and see what else I have missed!
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 Gamer
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.
Cherise Wolas
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely, tender, sweet, sad, rueful, hysterical, and life-affirming.
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