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Why Stuff Matters

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  13 reviews
When Jessica, a grieving widow, inherits an antique mall from her mother she also inherits the stallholders, an elderly, amoral, acquisitive, and paranoid collection. When one of the vendors, a wily ex-con named Roxy, shoots her ex-husband, she calls on Jessica to help bury the body and soon Jessica is embroiled in cover-ups, lies, and misdirection. Into this mix comes Liz ...more
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published April 11th 2019 by Arcadia Books
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Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
What happens when you take a small Texas town, a precocious twelve-year-old, a bunch of cranky senior citizens, and multiple deaths?  You get this book!

I enjoyed my visit to Caprock and found myself chuckling throughout especially at the senior citizens that ran booths within an antique mall with overpriced merchandise.  Jessica manages the storefront and all of the vendors, which can be a challenge most days.  Who's is every day that they are a challenge!  On top of that, her decea
Max Knight
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jen Waldo’s latest novel, Why Stuff Matters, can be enjoyed on so many different levels. Set in Caprock, Texas the story focuses on an antique mall where the antics of the tenants will cause readers to smile while also bringing into focus the human condition and how people deal with aging, death, and abandonment.
Both the building and the vendors are old. Layers of dust literally coat the shelves and merchandise, while figuratively the same can be said for the people. They’re resistant to chang
Jenn Belden
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*I was provided a copy of the book for review purposes; all opinions are my own.* Why Stuff Matters by Jen Waldo is not a long book, but it delivers a lot in its 212 pages!

I confess: I read this in one sitting, I couldn’t put it down, and I struggled to write this review because I didn’t feel like I was capturing why it was so good (in light of the disreputable characters and unlikable, um, activities.)

What I will tell you is that it is a delight. An outrageous, messy, cheeky, and sometimes fru
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can summarize my feelings about Why Stuff Matters into a single word: empathy. I’m not sure if Jen Waldo intended for a reader to completely empathize with the characters, but there it is. However, that feeling drew me into this novel very quickly. That’s one thing I really like about Jen Waldo - she gets into her stories quickly.

This story is meant to be humorous. I didn’t really take it that way. (Maybe because of the empathy?) I can understand how a reader could find humor, however, but it
Lorilei Gonzales
As per usual, I judged this book by its cover and immediately liked it. There’s a longstanding family joke where 3-year-old me proclaimed that my father’s favorite color was yellow (it wasn’t) and years later my college car was named Pichu because it was yellow. Hence, I really dig the color of this cover. Who knew that yellow, black, and negative white space could be visually interesting and soothing at the same time? I like the clean lines and the artistic simplicity conveyed by the hodgepodge ...more
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“People should give people things to remember them by.”

I emphatically and enthusiastically applaud author, Jen Waldo for crafting a story around old stuff and old people. Jen nails so many things with her character writing, especially of the inherited store owner, Jessica. The writing and the story are picture-perfect with this gem of a short novel.

What did she get right? On a recent, unexpected visit to an antique store with a friend who loves these kinds of stores, I immediately started sneezi
Kevin Polman
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Jen Waldo’s WHY STUFF MATTERS is well-written literary suspense with a dab of farce thrown in. Uniquely built around a decaying antiques mall in an authentically described Texas setting, the novel follows an intense period in the life of mall owner Jessica. Jessica’s biggest challenges, surprisingly, are the aging proprietors of booths that offer the usual fare of such places -- “stuff” ranging from nearly worthless junk to incredibly valuable collector’s items. (Psst… illegal stuff, t
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cast of characters in “Why Stuff Matters” are all people that you have known at some point in your life. The setting is a fictional town in the Texas Panhandle, but it could have been set in any urban area. The main character, Jessica, has been hardened by the untimely deaths of the people closest to her. She inherits her mother’s antique mall and, thus, all of the dealers who have space rented therein. These are all elderly people who seem to have no other purpose than their relationships t ...more
Kate Mize
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I got asked to review this book I was super excited because the story (and the author) are Texan and anyone who knows me I knows I'm a little in obsessed. I have to say this book made me laugh and cry. I loved the absurdity and the characters. The whole time all I could think about was that the antique mall reminded me of this place near my old work on I-10 here in Houston... And go figure in the acknowledgments 😂 Writing was super immersive and so tremendously real. I enjoyed it immensely ...more
Lone Star Literary Life
Indie Review for Lone Star Literary Life.

Also reviewed on Lone Star Book Blog Tours. Lone Star Blogger Team average rating: 4.8 Stars.
Jackie Law
Why Stuff Matters, by Jen Waldo, is a story of grief, avarice, ageing, and the suspicious resentments that define those whose lives have amounted to little more than material possessions. Set in a run down mall in small town Texas, USA, its cast of characters would garner sympathy if they weren’t so ornery and grasping. Into this mix is thrown the protagonist, Jessica, who has inherited the mall from her mother and moved in to escape the pain of the life she had built and then lost. Her moral co ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-set-in-usa
Novel set in Texas (wacky, funny, and scary…) – plus author interview on this link:

Why Stuff Matters is the second book by Jen Waldo. I very much enjoyed the first, Old Buildings in North Texas, and was looking forward to the second. It did not disappoint – although, for me, the subject matter (a somewhat bizarre antique mall with a very odd and eclectic collection of senior citizen vendors) did not work quite as well as the urbexing experiences of Old Bu
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2nd book by this author-both gifts --Thanks Tracy--I love her books, want to read more-having lived in Texas made them even more appealing-fun quick reads-Love the characters in this book-will be sharing with my other friends who love to read
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