Maybe you know a Marjorie Moore; maybe you are one. She’s dauntless, desperate and a little bit delusional. Yet her insatiable desires and misguided antics shed light on our own search for escapes—and search for self—and perhaps that is why we cheer her on wholeheartedly.
Marjorie Moore always wants more—and as a result, often feels she ends up with less. Forever searching elsewhere, she is consumed with wanting, or in her opinion, needing. Feeling trapped by her town and her family, she escapes through shopping, pill popping, and fantasizing about a possible affair with a friend from high school. Her credit card debt “forces” her to sell prescription drugs—which she secures at her receptionist job at the local hospital—to her dysfunctional friends. As her web of lies at home and work unravels, Margie struggles to become present in her own life.
Astute and provocative, Grotheim’s prose captures many of life’s dichotomies—duplicity versus authenticity, recklessness versus stability, and searching versus finding—in this moving debut novel.
Christie Grotheim is a New York-based writer whose stories have been featured in Salon, The New York Observer, and Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood. Grotheim studied creative writing at the New School and the 92nd Street Y, where Marjorie Moore was conceived—and birthed a few years later as her debut novel. She lives in Harlem with her husband and her dachshund and is hard at work on her second novel.
The title character of Christie Grotheim’s debut novel THE YEAR MARJORIE MOORE LEARNED TO LIVE is a perpetual seeker, a devotee of modern life’s distracting obsessions—she’s also in the midst of a mid-life crisis that is threatening to rob her of her job, her children, and her husband. Taking place mostly over the course of one year, this tightly plotted novel delves deep in Marjorie’s mind as she conceives and justifies the plans that lead her from compulsive shopping sprees to selling prescription pills to a weekend rendezvous with a male friend in Paris… Paris, Texas, that is. By turns funny and sad—but always ringing with truth—THE YEAR MARJORIE MOORE LEARNED TO LIVE is a searing satire of desire and consumerism and desperation. It is also a sympathetic portrait of a woman caught between all she wants and everything she already has.
I was lucky to receive an advanced copy of this novel, which I read with great interest, thrilled to discover this utterly engaging and original new voice. Grotheim’s debut novel is a page turner in every sense. The writing is highly sophisticated and effortless to read, and the story hooked me from beginning to end. Marjorie Moore is one of those unforgettable characters in fiction that simply stays with you long after you’ve put the book down—A modern Madame Bovary living in a small suburban town in Texas she despises. Grotheim masterfully takes the reader into the mind of Marjorie, who has everything (a caring husband, two fabulous children, and a job she enjoys) yet is utterly unhappy with her lot, and feels that life has cheated her of what she deserves. Marjorie embarks on a relentless quest to feel fulfilled, at the risk of ruining her family and her own sanity. Tragic and also humorous at times, the story is utterly realistic and, as such, fascinating. It is also, on many levels, a brilliant exploration of the self. I loved this novel, and I hope that other readers will love it too.
I have to say, I adored this book. There were moments it frightened me and hit a little close to home regarding the way it explores shifts in life and malaise and the faux-competitive nature of social media, but everything was done so well and so kindly and gently, and in a way I think we all need, that I appreciated it so much.
Marjorie is an amazing protagonist. I loved that she is flawed and that the flaws she has are often the most harshly judged because we associate them with suburban women. However, in this book, they are never treated as frivolous or evil or even ridiculed, but as sad and understandable which is so rare but powerful. I was also so grateful that she wasn't ground down in the book, that she was given the freedom to grow and change and evolve.
The characters were all well developed and the writing lovely, but the sense of hope, not for the extraordinary, but for the regular that the book gave was really special. I highly recommend it.
Charmingly, and sometimes absurdly, self-delusional, Marjorie Moore is one of those train wrecks that you can't help liking, because she means so well and has enough baggage to weigh down even the most determined optimist. Written with compelling detail, her journey from occasional to dependent pill-popping and nearly benign drug peddling among her stressed out suburban Mom acquaintances is fascinating and all-too real. You know she's going down, but you also hope that this woman with such drive and desire will find a way to come back up. Christie Grotheim delivers an entertaining, sharp attack on how today's rampant consumerism and Instagram/Pinterest-fueled drive to perfection are eating away at our better selves.
I found this to be a very entertaining read and loved peering into the life of the quirky Marjorie Moore. She is a bit of a train wreck and quite unlike any person I've known; at moments, it felt almost painful to read of her superficialities, self-deprecating habits, and self-absorbed state of oblivion; however, she is also warm and relatable, and you end up loving her - insecurities and all. The author has a clever humor and brilliant sense of imagery that make the character and story come to life in a most enjoyable way. It is a lighthearted and fun read, while also introducing thought-provoking themes throughout that leave you inspired to live for the things that matter most and not waste this one and only life constantly wanting for more.
This book is a wonderful way to pique the imagination. There's an interesting and slow unfolding of a dysfunctional character who finds herself through introspection. What makes it special is the way the story is told. Through its transporter-pod-like imagery, the details of each moment emerge. Marjorie is quite the character worth getting to know as she can probably teach you a thing or two! I found this book to be quite entertaining and filled with dark humour that grabs you at every turn. Marjorie took me away into the hot, sticky (and messy) days of her world. Highly recommended if you are into satirical humour!
I adored this book. There were moments it hit a little close to home regarding the way it explores how easy it is to become complacent in life and fail to realize all of the blessings we have right in front of us. I appreciated how the author tackled such a heavy subject with care and with absolutely relatable characters.
Marjorie is an amazing, flawed protagonist but her flaws are treated with compassion and understanding (which makes it so powerful). I loved that she was able to grow, change, and evolve in the book and didn't remain stuck in her misery.
The writing was lovely and kept me heavily engaged in the story. It was definitely a page-turner - I was anxious to see what ended up happening in Marjorie's life. I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy contemporary fiction.
Christie Grotheim's debut novel is a piercing portrait of the reality of living with anxiety and panic disorders—and the hard truths about self-medication. Instead of turning to her family and friends for support, the well-meaning Marjorie Moore tries to cope with her anxiety on her own. She finds temporary relief in pharmaceuticals, shopping sprees, and an online flirtation with an old friend, until the bad choices brought on by her addiction and mounting credit card debt catch up with her. An engaging debut that skillfully captures its characters—and what it means to live with and learn from our mistakes.
I took this book (advance copy) on vacation with me, and kept getting pulled into it. I was not even able to save more than a few pages for the flight home. The main character, Marjorie Moore, is basically the antithesis of everything I've always wanted for myself. Yet the skill of the author's writing made me feel more than a cringe - I routed for her, I laughed with her, and I eventually stopped judging her. Grotheim's talent is in fostering empathy & understanding through humor, even while tackling big contemporary philosophical themes like addiction. Though funny, it's no lightweight romp. I would definitely recommend this book, and look forward to more by this author.
This book. This woman. She sticks to us. She's our shadow self. She's the woman down the street who wrecked her marriage. She's the mother in our child’s class who appears totally uncaring. She's an addict. She's self-absorbed, unlikeable, she's all those adjectives we can force onto her, to look down on her. She's a warning. And Grotheim is so completely unremitting in the quest to expose and uncover her that we are forced, finally, to see her from the inside, to see ourselves as part of her, to acknowledge what we’ve felt too, that pill we took, that low grade addiction to social media. And in the end we root for her, and feel we too have found a measure of redemption.
“The Year Marjorie Moore Learned to Live" is a book that can teach us all how to live and remind us that what we experience is, in many ways, up to us. While taking us on a laugh-out-loud fun but cringe-worthy ride of a life about to implode, Grotheim brings us to a point of our own decision about what we value. Check it out!” —Lisa Kohn, author of To The Moon And Back: A Childhood Under the Influence
A hilarious and thought-provoking novel about a woman who gets herself into some serious sh*t. Marjorie takes us on a whirlwind adventure of the mind and heart, through the desolate landscape of Prairie Mound, TX. She's looking for more—Moore—and loses track of herself as she tries to find it. The book is super funny and impossible to put down—Grotheim's unique voice stuck with me long after finishing the book.
I really enjoyed this debut novel which I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of! Like two of my favorite books, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Where'd You Go Bernadette, it takes us through the inner mind of a delusional and flawed woman who both frustrated and charmed me. The Year Marjorie Moore Learned to Live is engrossing and entertaining with a poignant and emotional undercurrent and I most definitely recommend it.
While biting tales of midlife crises are nothing new, Grotheim's debut is a cut above the rest: Marjorie is intelligent and self-aware, and her self-destructive tendencies occasionally made me cringe, they also felt relatable, understandable, and totally believable (no cheap shots or outlandish twists here). I also loved the musical writing and quick, almost breezy pacing. I'm recommending this to everyone looking for a fun, redemptive, juicy summer read.
I loved this book! Margie drew me in quickly, and i worried so about all her escalating mistakes! I think a lot of women can identify with some part of sweet margie....me included! A good read...hated to see it end!
'Marjorie Moore' is a glittering dissection of middle-class suburbia and the habits of the late Gen X crowd, full of scalpel-sharp humor and needling details. The title character lives in a dream, experiencing her existence through a haze of prescription drug highs, the mirage-world of Facebook, and an aspirational consumerism enabled by credit card debt and Amazon.com. Middle-aged and a mother, living in a dull development outside Dallas, she yearns for a more urban and urbane future and craves to recapture scraps of her more hopeful past. Her husband and two kids often register as little more than intrusions on her daily fantasy life. To finance her compulsive purchases, Margie begins soliciting prescriptions from the doctors at the hospital where she works and selling the pills to her loose group of friends and acquaintances. And to feed her need for romance and excitement, she begins a quickly-escalating online affair with an old high school crush. Grotheim knows her setting and her characters intimately, and her control of pacing and structure keeps the plot compact. It's everything you wanted to know about northeastern Texas but were afraid to find out. Her touch stays deft, never heavy-handed, even in the book's most devastating moments. My only quibble is that (*SPOILER*) Margie escapes the story chastened but unscathed, shedding her superficiality and self-absorption for a fresh and engaged outlook with relatively little external prodding. I expected Margie's selfishness to bring down much rougher consequences on herself and her family, leading to a far harsher catharsis. But you might be less pessimistic than me, so don't let that deter you. It's a fine debut novel, and I'm excited for what Grotheim brings us next.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
There came a point I could not put the book down. I consumed Margie’s life with my jaw dropped and my eyes popping at her numerous mis-adventures. Here was a full-fledged adult – a mother, wife, friend, employee – twisting her life into crisis mode to fulfill base desires. Grotheim perfectly paints Margie’s inner life, made her such a believable character that while I watched Margie’s actions in disbelief, I never for once doubted her.
Some of the best fiction are ones that read like non-fiction. THE YEAR MARJORIE MOORE LEARNED TO LIVE is one such book, poured onto the page with such realistic strokes I might as well have been reading about a real life character. I recommend it highly to anyone who wishes to understand why any middle-aged woman who has everything would almost throw it all away for wanting more.
VIGIL CHIME Winner 2017 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
Margie’s mid-life existential crisis captures so many of life’s dichotomies: masks v. authenticity, fear-of-missing-out v. fear of losing what we have, sex v. intimacy, adventure v. stability, recklessness v. boredom. Grotheim’s writing had me guffawing out loud at times at Margie’s witty internal monologue, wholeheartedly rooting for her wanderlust, then in the next breath feeling compelled to grab Margie by the shoulders and say, “Nooooo! Wait! Stop! That’s a terrible idea! Abort the mission!” This book also unpeels layers of addiction—to spending, to substances, to risk, to attention from others—making the reader ponder how to extract more joy, spark, light, and color from our everyday lives. I can’t wait to read more of Grotheim’s work.
If you have ever gotten bored with your life and used social media to fuel your escapist fantasies, you will connect with Marjorie Moore. Grotheim's realization of this complex woman leads the reader through Marjorie's most desperate desires (and her sometimes dangerous methods of fulfilling them) with a concerned but friendly understanding. Through her heart and well-timed wit, Grotheim shapes Marjorie, her life, and her relationships, admirably resisting what might otherwise be a trite cautionary tale. I highly recommend this book, and anything by Grotheim--an extremely talented humorist and novelist.
I read this book on a recent flight overseas and wow did the hours breeze by! Grotheim's lyrical writing takes readers on a wild ride through the Texas heat to meet Majorie Moore, an endearing character we love in spite of her deep flaws. From popping one too many pills to ringing up credit card debit, Majorie wants a perfect life that doesn’t exist. It takes almost losing it all for Marjorie to discover the universe has better plans than she could ever find on Pinterest. In Grotheim’s deft hands, this touching debut novel shows us magic can happen when we stop searching for it. Highly recommend!
I loved this book. Although Maggie Moore is a dysfunctional mess because of drugs and debt she is very sympathetic. You root for her to get her life in order as things keep going awry. Ms. Grotheim is a fantastic writer. Her prose is very visual and character development is wonderful. There are many themes in the book and you are left with a lot to think about...learning to live in the moment, what makes an honest marriage and a good family life and searching to find your true self. Yet this is not a dark or bleak book at times it’s quite humorous. [full disclosure I received a copy of this book from the publisher.]
I loved this book. I was able to read an advanced reader copy. Marjorie Moore is so frustrating and yet endearing! Regardless of the bad decisions she continues to make, I can't help rooting for her throughout the book! Grotheim captures the cyclical fights that can quickly explode in marriage, as well as so many quirky things that make us human. I saw myself and my husband in her life-like characters as we navigate this busy life of marriage, parenting, working, etc. I highly recommend this book!
Reading the book a second time was just as pleasurable as the first. Christie Grotheim captures Marjorie’s character perfectly - her day to day life, her hilarious inner musings, and her gradual descent and evolution. This book is a success, and not just because of Grotheim’s engaging writing. The journey of Marjorie Moore carries a universal message that reminds us to wake up to our lives; to love and relish in life, all the small moments as well as the big ones.
I was able to get an advanced reader copy of The Year Marjorie Moore Learned to Live and I give it 5 stars! Marjorie was a character that I first disliked due to her self-indulgent nature. However, as the story progressed, I found myself rooting for her and eager to find out how she ended up. This is a great story and reinforces, in this age of more is better and instant gratification, what is truly important in life.
This was a fantastic read. Marjorie Moore is a wonderfully fleshed out character with a rich inner life. Her delusions, fantasies and means of escape are realistic and relatable, simultaneously hilarious and poignant. Her realization that we can find happiness amidst the awkwardness, boredom and pain of daily living really resonated, as did her revelation that we should not take our loved ones for granted.
I'm clearly in the minority but, honestly, I am surprised by the overwhelmingly positive reviews of this book. I had a hard time finishing it and strongly disliked the self-destructive main character (and not simply because I could not relate to her). While not unsympathetic to her plight, I struggled with the deluge of uncomfortable and cringeworthy situations and bad decisions. I felt empathy for her husband and kids. Without spoilers (but the title helps), the overall theme saved the book.
A stunner of a novel! Author Christie Grotheim has shone a hard spotlight on those who, at times, gaze over the horizon instead of looking right ahead. A wonderfully written novel about anxiety, drug abuse, lust and redemption through the eyes of a flawed yet endearing central character, this is enjoyably confronting reading with a worthy payoff. Highly recommend!