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A Piece Of Normal

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,181 ratings  ·  101 reviews
“Quite wonderful. . . . Like Anne Tyler, Shelton seems to possess a nearly boundless capacity for empathy. She has the ability to make us love her characters for their faults, not in spite of them.” —Connecticut Post

Warmhearted, insightful, funny and poignant, bestselling author Maddie Dawson takes the unfathomable ways of love and family, and celebrates [the joys of] th
Kindle Edition, 404 pages
Published February 9th 2017 by NYLA
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  2,181 ratings  ·  101 reviews

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John Gilbert
Apr 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one. Heaps of issues and all kinds of things happening to our heroine, a single mum with four year old Simon, and she is setting up her ex on dates. Suddenly her sister returns home after many year away and all hell breaks out in our heroine's life. She writes an advice column as Dear Lilly for a local newspaper and lives in her dead Mum's house on Long Island Sound in Branford, Connecticut.

Having spent more than 30 years living in the New Haven area and even in Branford fo
Fluff Smut & Murder
Sep 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
I have loved all of Maddie Dawson's other books.. not this one.

While I'm surprised Lily could walk after laying down to be a doormat to every single person in her life, what bothered me the most is that she couldn't even take her own advice. I gave up at 54% (whatever page that was in Kiblde speak) - I truly think there was no hope for her and I wasn't interested in seeing if the married guy was going to change the status quo.

Hopefully the next one will be better
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
"What are you doing anyway?"

"Aromatherapy...she's had an upsetting day."

Seriously how dumb is our main character to believe a line delivered directly and so poorly, and continue to bury her head in the sand about her sister and ex? About as dumb as I felt continuing to read it.

I enjoyed Matchmaking for Beginners so much, I dove right into another Maddie Dawson book but I did not enjoy this half as much. There was so much going on and yet, so many reasons to not care about each situation. More re
Aug 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Based on Matchmakers For Beginners, which is Dawson's most recent work, I really thought that I had discovered a unique author with a brilliant and witty voice. Unfortunately, this is the second book in her earlier work that doesn't live up to my expectations. First, I could not relate to the characters, who were either too permissive, too accommodating, or too eccentric, too selfish, or had no sensitivity at all. Secondly, I thought that there was no breathing room in the writing, it was simply ...more
Avid Reader
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was ok

I was rooting for Lilly but feel like she was very passive. I wanted Lilly to stand up for herself.
Andrea Ahn
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: july-s-books
This was a cute quick read about a advice columnist and her dysfunctional life. When Lily's sister comes back into town after disappearing for 10-years everything changes. Life is all about changing and learning from those around you. ...more
Eric Mochnacz
Jul 23, 2020 rated it liked it
I read Maddie Dawson whenever I need a break from life.

Although her characters deal with real problems, they do so within a world of romantic comedy occurrences and meet cute sensibilities. Although I believe most of what happens in her books would never actually happen in real life - it's still good to know there are authors out there who approach their stories with more optimism than cynicism. Her books, although touching on death, heartbreak, and family trauma, are still rays of sunshine in a
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved the twists and turns of this novel and the layered personality traits of the

each character is wonderful! I felt emotional pangs of guilt, betrayal, love, friendship and grief. I also felt the nostalgia of community, the hope of change and adventure. It is true to Dawson's style..a good read that begs to you to keep reading.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The second book of Maddie Dawson's I've read. I appreciate the complexity and depth of her characters and their real-life challenges. Romance, love, and life are complicated and often the people we most love can also frustrate us and cause us to question our lives and our decisions, but this doesn't always mean they're bad for us or that the answer is to leave the relationship.

Life is messy, but wonderful, is the conclusion I came to after reading this book.
Sandra Bowman
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Where's the ending?

I'm a bit stumped. All in all it was a good book that suddenly ended without any warning. Did someone tell the author that she needed to shorten the book and it was best to simply delete the final chapter?
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A book with great depth.

The story takes you on an unpredictable ride through the life of two sisters. You think you know what the outcome of a situation is, but the end results completely takes you by surprise and it's absolutely nothing like what you had assumed. Truly enjoyed the unexpected twists and enlightening revelations that hits home in that know one can predict one's future and all the plans that you make for yourself to achieve your goals in life and follow a specific path can all di
Melissa Dinwiddie
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another winner from Maddie Dawson

Maddie Dawson’s books are not always easy to read. Fluffy, light reads they are not, though they may be mistaken for light reading, focusing, as they do, on women’s relationships. These are not easy relationships, however.

Lily Brown, the protagonist of A Piece of Normal, has lost her parents, her sister, and more recently her marriage. She’s keeping it all together, trying to find her ex-husband (with whom she’s stayed friends) a new partner, not moving forward,
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another great read by Maddie Dawson

I won't lie at first it was slow going for me as I started this book. However I've read some of her stuff before and knew how amazing it could be and it didn't disappoint. I think it's because her characters are so human and relatable, all while wanting to strangle them every time there was an unforgivable twist. A piece of me wants more because I feel like there is just so much more to be told. But at the same time it's a beautiful way to end it with not every
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gerry Bates
Jun 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was a great disappointment.

I had bought and read two other books by Maddie Dawson, both of which had an unusual plot and quirky characters. The dialogue was funny and I couldn't wait to see what came next. A slice of normal never was. The characters were whining, argumentative, manic and annoying. It took until chapter 28 to give hope of a love interest and that was never solidly resolved. I read novels for an escape and I like happy endings, but the only reason I finished this novel i
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
What did I just read?

The prodigal sister returns and is a total bitch who returns home after running away for ten years. Lily left California to take care of her sister after her parents died and all she could say was bite me. She stole the home that she'd been living in for the ten years she was gone. Oh and Lily's son ends up with a brother-nephew because her sister gets pregnant by Lily's ex-husband! She ends just as entitled and self centered as she was at the start. Basically, there was no
Tracye Quinlan
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good... Loved being with these characters

I was afraid after reading some of the reviews that I would be annoyed with the main character. That she would be too timid and get walked on. But one of my best friends said, when I told her this, that not everybody can be outspoken and stand up for themselves all the time. So I gave it a chance. I'm glad I did. I thought it was believable, and encouraging and wherever the characters end up I enjoyed being with them for this part of their story.
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
A Small Piece of Normal

The complexity of family secrets unwind in this engaging story. Lily has always worried about her out of control younger sister who she tried to care for after their parents untimely deaths. Sister Dana reappears after 10 years and many miles and adventures. It’s not a typical homecoming as some things and people can’t be fixed. Not much in this story was predictable and for that reason kept me interested. This is a story about empowerment, acceptance and that there’s real
John Gartner
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun read, fizzles out

Maddie Dawson's books are often fun to read but in the endings are unsatisfying & feel lazy. She gives no epilogue of any kind. The protagonist in this one is a doormat & in the end she is a doormat. It is so disappointing. Without giving away the ending there is a seriously unresolved obvious issue. It's such a shame because this seems to be her style, a fun read, & an ending that goes nowhere.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-s-fiction
Rare is the person who can love without control

This book provides insight for those of us who live and love always with a plan on mind. We can't control circumstances, situations or people. I found a lot of commonalities between myself and Lily. I think that Dawson does an excellent job creating characters who are real and relatable.she provides insights on the many fallacies and obstacles that can arise when dealing with diverse personality types
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book for the most part, but it just went on too long. Somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 from the end the story just went in kind of a continuous loop. I was ready to get to the end by then and here we were just circling the drain. I absolutely loved Match Making for Beginners by this same author, but this book was just not on the same level. So maybe that's why I was more meh about this one. ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoy Maddie Dawson novels, but this one fell quite short for me; I’m rounding up to 3 stars.

I liked Lily, though she was a tad too passive, but the character of Dana did not ring true to me and I couldn’t root for her. That was a huge drawback. Otherwise, some thoughtful messages about family and love and taking chances. I only wish the rest of the main characters (Simon and Alex are exceptions) weren’t so obnoxious and self-centered.

I enjoyed this book. I can really relate to both of the sisters. Obviously not their exact circumstances, but the feelings they were carrying for so long. It’s hard to explain, I did really like the book and it was an enjoyable read. The characters seem real to me as well. There were parts where I was like “nah bisch” and couldn’t believe how either sister was missing so much of the point. But I think that was part of the point? Anyway. I loved the ending. Perfect!
Sheri Lynn Bourne  Avis
Oct 24, 2021 rated it did not like it
Neophyte Author

Its difficult to get into this book for several reasons.... The author is obviously not a mother because the child/infant character Simon can not possibly have the vocabulary that she has inserted into the story nor can a child still nursing pretend to be a dog on all fours mimicking a playful dog. These are just a few examples that make the story unbelievable . Its a waste of time and not a good story overall.
Melba Ortiz
Nov 23, 2022 rated it liked it
I was enjoying this story that dealt with relationship issues, grief, moving-on, etc. I thought the self- analyzing of the main character would be so terrific at the end, but I was so disappointed in the abrupt ending. I plodded along with the drama and the abuse this character accepted hoping she would redeem herself eventually. What an unsatisfactory ending. I was disappointed that I'd hung in there so long for no good reason. ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Grabbed me and Drug Me Along!

I’ll admit that I was having trouble getting started on this book! The main character, as well as the book, seemed to be just sleepwalking. However, when Dana showed up, the book, and Lily’s life, went into hyperdrive. It grabbed me and I had to just hang on! I ended up thoroughly enjoying the book, as I have all of Ms. Dawson’s other novels!
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This story is as frustrating as life is. The well-drawn characters in this story are easy to care about and the plot simply cannot be looked away from, as if something awful is going to happen and it must not be missed. I very much enjoy Maddie Dawson's writing and will cheerfully read anything she cares to write. I recommend this book.
Tally Satterthwaite
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not the expected fluff

After an iffy start, threatening to slide into simplistic, cliche territory, this developed into a real story. Lily's introspective journey is far from a gripping narrative, but there is some genuine character development. The pseudo psychological sappiness is avoided, though it's close at times. A decent read about sooner reasonably interesting people.
Sandi L. Suggs
Oct 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A spellbinding novel of life, families, changes, love, hurt feelings and more!

I could not put this book down! I loved it. Kept me Interested from page one to the very last page. I did not want it to end. This book would make the best movie!
Sisters, husbands, babies, friends, secrets, lies, life, love, hurt feelings and broken dreams and new dreams.

Cherye Elliott
Feb 05, 2022 rated it really liked it
Interesting read

Living in a small closed community leaves you in the position of having no secrets, being super judgemental and the only conversational memories are reliving the getting to know you. Then there is second generation. Those who stayed and those who visit/vacation.

There is a lot of drama. Makes my life dull and boring. Definitely recommend.

There is no no
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I'm the author of eleven novels about love, crazy families, secrets, parenthood, and--yes, they have happy endings and some laughs as well as tears. (Just like life.) My newest, SNAP OUT OF IT, comes out on Jan. 3, 2023.

Also by me: The Magic of Found Objects, A Happy Catastrophe, Matchmaking for Beginners, The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness, The Opposite of Maybe, The Stuff That Never Happen

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