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Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Named one of 2019’s most anticipated reads by LitHub and Entertainment Weekly

From a bright new voice in contemporary fiction comes a hilarious and sophisticated comedy of manners about a delightfully eccentric family and the absurd happenings that befall them during one frenzied summer at their home in the Pacific Northwest.

The inimitable—some might say incorrigible—Frank
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Atria Books
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3.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  82 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Matthew Quann
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Matthew by: Atria Books
Thanks to Atria Books for an advance review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe lands in store on March 26th, 2019!

There's something morbidly satisfying in reading about the lives of the wealthy few. Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe is populated by one such family, who live in the pleasant Pacific Northwest, but they all happen to be down in the dumps despite their financial advantages. The titular Frank Widdicombe is malingering after his friend cancelle
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe is, for lack of a better word, weird. I know it's supposed to be odd and strange and satirical. The overall story seemed to be trying to hard to be something weird. Too much quirkiness and not enough story to balance it out. I didn't enjoy this book like I thought I would. It's too much oddness for my taste. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Donna McCaul Thibodeau
I didn't finish this, I found none of the characters likable.
Erika Kraus
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in the giveaway! I absolutely adored the story, Evan James has a wonderful voice. I'm completely charmed.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At first I wasn't sure what to expect but, as I got into the story I understood this is about the "idle rich". As you travel deeper into the lives of everyone you realize that they are just trying to discover "who" they are and what they need to feel good about their selves. This was more enjoyable than I thought, good reading.
Marilyn B
Apr 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: contemporary, funny
This book is trying desperately hard to be funny but comes off as brash and missed the mark entirely.
Charlie Smith
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I begin by saying this: I've been under a great deal of stress, ill relatives I'm caring for, lots of personal pressure, lack of sleep --- so I am 99% certain that any trouble I had with this novel is more about me than the novel.

That said, I did not love this the way I thought I would, or, rather, the way I had been led to expect by pre-pub publicity and its blurbs. It was neatly constructed, well-written, had a sense of humor, but it wasn't really satire, and it wasn't really --- well, it was
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe by Evan James is a highly recommended satirical comedy.

Frank Widdicombe is suffering from depression, but only according to his wife, Carol, who also contemplates other things Frank may be suffering from. The Widdicombes are a wealthy family summering at their island home, Willowbrook Manor, on Bainbridge Island in the Puget Sound. Carol is planning a garden, created and cared for by Marvelous Matthews. Self-help author Gracie Sloane is going to spend the summer with the
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book.

I finished this book and said, out loud, "well, that was delightful." And I meant it. At about 20% in I wasn't sure I wanted to keep reading. At that point it felt a little tedious and I wondered why I cared about these privileged characters. The writing kept me going. Sparkling, whip-smart writing. Sure, overwrought at times, but it's satire, perhaps it's meant to be overwrought. The sentences are long, with many asides throughout, but it's a style I
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this book through Goodreads giveaway, so thank you very much to the organizers.

The book presents a rich family, with some rich friends, as well as a few people who are less at ease financially. There is not much of a plot. The book is character-driven; the majority of it are inner thoughts and feelings of individual characters as they go through one summer together. Even the dialog often appears in the form of memories as a character is reflecting upon what happened.

I thought that the
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: won, first-reads
Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe from Evan James is an enjoyable satirical read that succeeds quite well at entertaining the reader. I make that stipulation about being entertaining because that quality is often undervalued. I know I often do so when I enjoy a book but don't necessarily feel it added nuance or understanding to my world view. But some works are meant to entertain and should be assessed on that basis.

I did not immediately get into the book and put it aside for a couple of weeks to be able
Jeffrey Sobel
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
CHEER UP, MR. WIDDICOMBE by @mrevanjames from @atriabooks #partner 🎈Available March 26
This really is a fun summer party that I never wanted to end. It’s the type of book where, even if you’re having a bad day, you pick it up and a paragraph or two later your entire mood lifts into the clouds. I want to be part of the Widdicombe world!
This is about an eccentric family and their friends in and around a scenic island off the coast of Seattle all trying to make sense of this crazy universe. Part s
The Suburban Eclectic
Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe has great bones: interesting characters, unique narration, quality backstory. But the storyline never gels. It has got a lot going on; there are seven main characters and a few periphery ones, which is not an issue, though the transitions are a bit abrupt. Although the story centers around the Widdicombe summer house and the characters flit in and out, the majority of the narration takes place within their heads, thus it reads like multiple thought bubbles floating about ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe presents a somewhat meandering narrative that finds its charm in its cast of eccentric characters. Upon first impression, it is difficult to empathize with the wealthy Widdicombe family, who are all striving to find their purpose in the day to day banality of their lives. Having just moved to a new summer home on the Puget Sound, their life of luxury leaves them with little to occupy their time but respective despair- Frank is mourning the loss of a holiday in France, Ca ...more
Apr 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Pretty sure I will be unable to slug my way through this PRETENTIOUSLY written novel in its entirety. Every paragraph long sentence is beleaguered, belabored, and so achingly proud of its own smug superiority!! Ugh. All that effort and still unable to get the Reader to care about the characters on any level. Cleverness (with no heart) is not sufficiently charming or funny, it’s tiresome. Saddened by my high hopes for a clever AND charming book. Guess I will keep holding out for the next Where’d ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Phenominally funny (especially the precise language of the first half). The fake self-help mantras were hard to get out of my head as I read on into Gracie's introduction, which kept the story well within my mind when not reading. Very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet the author in Kenya for the Summer Literary Seminars and very hopeful others will take the cue to pick up this book. It's a fun high-society snub akin to stuff I've read by Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis.
Luis Cuesta
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway. The focus of Evan James' novel outlines a summer with a family that’s so neurotic they’re almost normal. The characters are well constructed and the pace of the plot is well organized to keep you reading. In concussion I would say that If you like books about topics like family, friendship, and love this one is worth reading.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe is a satirical novel about the antics of a rich and eccentric family one summer. It was entertaining summer reading, but without much plot. Probably my favorite characters were the people who worked for the family -- the gardener and the personal assistant.

I received a free review copy of Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe through Goodreads Giveaways.
Catherine Elcik
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Blistering satire of the hysterically trivial (and not so trivial) crises of a privileged family, their help, and a self-help guru (the guru's a mashup of Julia Cameron and Elizabeth Gilbert best I can tell) as they bumble through the summer of their discontent.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was just not the book for me. I'm not sure why I struggled to get through it. The characters were entertaining, but the plot seemed to drag on. I might have to revisit and see if I enjoy it any better.
Started slow, but the characters were interesting and became well developed. Story felt a bit unfinished, but overall a good read.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it

Review posted at Tzer Island book blog:
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was very difficult for me to get through, but I still enjoyed it! I do have to warn folks that there are no chapters, which makes it a bit more difficult to pause while reading.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A look into an absurd family dynamic and the people that revolve around them, Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe can be almost too self reflecting but makes up for it in comedic moments.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
What a lovely story! The characters were (mostly) like-able and their thoughts relatable! Evan James has a real talent!
rated it really liked it
Apr 06, 2019
Katie McGovern
rated it liked it
Apr 18, 2019
Kathy Little
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Apr 01, 2019
rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2019
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