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The Worst Kind of Want

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  41 reviews
A trip to Italy reignites a woman’s desires to disastrous effect in this dark ode to womanhood, death, and sex

To cool-headed, fastidious Pricilla Messing, Italy will be an escape, a brief glimpse of freedom from a life that's starting to feel like one long decline.

Rescued from the bedside of her difficult mother, forty-something Cilla finds herself called away to Rome to
ebook, 224 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by MCD
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  157 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Larry H
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Pricilla Messing has had it with being the responsible one. She's tired of caring for her elderly mother, especially after having to care for her father before his death. She always took a back seat to the relationship between her mother and her younger sister, who was more beautiful and more exciting. Part of her wants to put her mother in an assisted living facility, sell the house, and start some new adventure, but she feels too tethered to her responsibilities.

When Cilla's brother-in-law
Anna Luce
DNF at 10%

Maybe readers who aren't Italian—or know very little about Italy—might be able to overlook the clichés and blunders in this novel. In this day and age, it's fairly easy to find out information about other countries. You could just ask on Quora....
The thing is that it is tone deaf: there are the occasional Italian words peppered here and there—I guess to give it a more 'genuine' flavour—but, for the most part, the way these Italian characters speak sounds false.
Jacobs applies English
Jessica Sullivan
Liska Jacobs second novel is again about a woman on the path of self-destruction and she writes this character well.

Cilla has spent many years of her life grieving the loss of her sister and taking care of her mother. Her longtime boyfriend, nearly 20 years her senior, is pursuing women half her age. Now pushing her mid 40s, she takes a trip to Italy to check up on her teenage niece, Hannah. While there, she gets swept up into an affair with Donato, a 17-year-old Italian boy who Hannah loves.

Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
3.5 rounded down

A great read for those hot summer days, The Worst Kind of Want follows Cilla on a trip to Rome. In her early forties and escaping from having to care for her deteriorating mother back in America, Cilla travels to Rome to spend time with her brother-in-law, Paul, and teenage niece, Hannah. During the heady summer days Cilla becomes embroiled in the life of Donato, an Italian teenager who has befriended her niece. Things spiral from here to an inevitable and dramatic conclusion.

Lolly K Dandeneau
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog:
'I have not thought about my wants in so long that the flood of them makes me light-headed.'

Priscilla “Cilla” is only 43 but feels like life has aged her beyond her years, living with her mother whom is now in rehabilitation at a nursing home. Mother, needy, bitter and resentful, forcing her to placate her demands. Every visit feels like drudgery, reminding her of how stifling her life has become. Since the death of Cilla’s sister, her
Heather Scott Partington
Full disclosure: Liska Jacobs is a good friend.

Liska Jacobs writes bad women well. Fans of her 2017 novel, Catalina already know this; there's a thrill in watching her heroines self-destruct. In her newest book, The Worst Kind of Want, Jacobs delivers again. Priscilla Messing is a 43-year-old former producer living in Los Angeles in the shadow of her parents' celebrity. Rejecting the doldrums of caring for her ailing mother, she escapes to Italy, ostensibly to help her widowed brother-in-law
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Priscilla has been asked by his brother-in-law to spend time with him and his troubled daughter in Italy. Priscilla jumps at the chance because she wants to get away from her overbearing mother and her ex-boyfriend. Italy provides plenty of distraction in the form of a young Italian who happens to be the crush of her niece. Sexy, atmospheric and flanked by a flawed and complex character, this is great for fans of Delia Ephron or Matthew Weiner.

Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A woman gives in to her dark, and very human, impulses in this twisted, compelling, and ultimately moving novel. The writing is excellent, reminding me of Deborah Levy and Michel Houellebecq.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved Liska Jacob’s first novel, Catalina - so I was super excited to receive an advance copy of her upcoming book in exchange for an honest review.

The description: A trip to Italy reignites a woman’s desires to disastrous effect in this dark ode to womanhood, death and sex.

There’s something special about Jacob’s writing. It‘s sinister and a little tense... the characters are complex and though I didn’t necessarily relate to them, I was intrigued. Similar to how she portrayed
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
The Worst Kind of Want
The magic of Italy sparks Pricilla way more than it should for a forty something woman that feels the need to let loose. After years of caring for her mother and the death of her sister, Cilla is asked by her brother in law to come to Italy and care for her teenaged niece. Once their Cilla bounces back to her youth and starts partying. Reckless,thoughtless behavior and the consequences of it. I could feel Cilla's pain. The wedge between right and wrong, desire and disaster.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was touted as a mix of Ottessa Moshfegh and Patricia Highsmith, and although it wasn't that, I do think it would appeal to those readers. It's about the self-destructive downward spiral of a woman in her 40's dealing with grief. I found the last page very, very affecting, and it changed my understanding of the whole novel.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!
William Jacobs
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like something dark yet clever that will make your head spin so you think about some real stuff... I would highly recommend this novel for you.
David Olsen
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible second novel. Everyone should read this.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should have loved this book. It is very well-written, skillfully plotted and structured – and it has the all-important personal tie-in: It is largely set in Puglia (along with Rome and Southern California), where I lived for several years. This wasn't the Puglia that I knew, however, and even nostalgia wasn’t enough to carry me over the top with this story.

When I began serious reading as a very young person in the 1960s, it frustrated me that so much of the highly-praised fiction on offer
Daniel Cuthbert
Pricilla Messing needs a bit of a break.

Having to deal with the loss of her sister and dad, as well as having to play constant caregiver for her aging mother, she is starting to feel much older than her 43 years. So when given the opportunity to go to Rome to help watch over her niece, Hannah, she doesn’t hesitate to experience not only a completely new culture, but give herself the opportunity to live a little. But the picturesque sites spark painful memories while the friendly natives,
I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review. I had read Jacobs' 1st novel Catalina and liked it enough. This book has a few strengths in the setting where most of the book takes place in Italy, which is very much a character of itself.

Priscilla is a caregiver for her aging mother who is in a rehab facility for a bad fall. Her actual job is unclear, or if she is well off. Her proximity to the movie industry in Hollywood is interesting, as her
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, women
I read this book quickly via a return flight from Europe, and it filled the time. Was it good? Not really. Was it bad? No. It is about a woman feeling older, feeling like she has missed out, and looking for a fix in the wrong places. TW: sexual abuse

“It’s strange to accept that I could live a thousand lives and still it would not be sufficient. All that there is, is not enough- but I had known this already.” Pg 140

“I feel the steady forward marching of time then. The date of my return flight,
Douglas Wood
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Liska Jacobs' The Worst Kind of Want is The Best Kind of Book.
The story is familiar enough when it's a middle aged man falling for a younger woman in a lush locale, but switching genders is a masterstroke by Jacobs. Before the plot can delve into cliche, the bottom drops out, the tables turn, and a new understanding of the characters and the world we live in comes into focus.

The protagonist, forty-something Cilla, is both familiar and revolutionary, existing on so many unexpected levels.
Kathleen Gray
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cilla has had a lot to deal with in the last few years- the death of her sister, the waning of her relationship with Guy, and care taking for her difficult mother. When her brother in law calls and asks her to come to Italy to see if she can do something with her niece Hannah, she thinks about it for a minute and then takes off. Hannah is a typical 15 year old in many ways; she's also got a crush on 17 year old Donato. Unfortunately, for her, Cilla and Donato have a crush on each other. Cilla is ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as an ARC and I put off reading it because of the title, I thought it was just going to be erotica. That did not really prove to be the case, although the content is uncomfortable at times. The main character is Priscilla, a 43 year old woman who has spent the last few years of her life taking care of her sick parents. Her aging lover, whom she has been with since she was about 16, uses her, but has moved on to younger love interests (he’s quite the cliche). Priscilla also ...more
Kim McGee
3 1/2 stars for me.
Priscilla is tired. Tired of waiting for a marriage proposal from her much older boyfriend and really tired of being the sole caretaker to her elderly mom so when the plea came from her brother-in-law to come to Italy and help corral her teenage niece, Cilla got on a plane.
When a little attention and outright flirting comes from a sexy teenager who is a family friend and her niece's crush, Cilla relishes it and sadly takes advantage of the situation and his youth. Like the
No Books
The Worst Kind Of Want is dark and sensual and has kept me on my toes in terms of where the plot line is going. ‘Cilla is forty-something and living a life she feels is slowly on the decline. She splits her time between caring for her elderly mother and craving love from Guy, the older man who’s been courting her with no intention of getting serious, for years. When the opportunity arises to visit her recently widowed brother-in-law and Niece in Italy for the summer, Cilla goes for it. But soon ...more
Gabrielle Jarrett
Dec 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am conflicted about assigning one star as I think to have one's book written and published is a great accomplishment. However, I truly did not like the book. I found it sophomoric. The dialogue was trite and boring. The flashbacks were not placed well or clearly. The surprises were not surprises because the foreshadowing was obvious and blatant. The one interesting part was the parallel between the narrator's experience of being prey to a predator 30 years older than her at 14 and maintaining ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A respectable novel, but one that just didn’t quite live up to its great beginning. THE WORST KIND OF WANT, set in Italy as Cilla, a single 43 year, travels there to look after her niece who recently lost her mother. As Cilla grapples with the loss of her sister, the attraction she feels to her niece’s young boyfriend, and the nature of aging in general, we see that Cilla still has a lot to learn about being an adult.

I felt like I sort of muddled through the book, unfortunately. Not a lot
Jul 01, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Jacobs’ The Worst Kind of Want is set against the enchanting and seductive backdrop of Rome. Her vibrant depictions of the city will have readers longing to book a flight.

Protagonist Cilla is a complex character. Following the death of her sister and feeling the personal strain of having served as caretaker for her ailing mother, Cilla travels to Italy to help care for and mentor her teenaged niece Hannah. What follows is a Mrs. Robinson meets How Stella Got her Groove Back series of affairs.
Morgan Schulman
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I received an advance readers copy in exchange for an honest review

I really wanted to like this book. I was intrigued by the idea of a middle-aged divorcee who has been caring for a dying mother getting her life back with a young guy, but this was just too melodramatic for me. 2.5 for the story and an extra star for the writing style, so it’s 3.5 rounded up
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book. The author does a wonderful job with her descriptions of the settings revolving around the characters, beginning with the assisted living environment in which the mother of the main character resides, and continuing with all of the locations in Italy. The characters are well drawn out and the story very interesting and believable.
Crystal Hicks
When reading this story of a middle aged woman’s lust for a much younger man, I find myself judging a woman’s midlife crisis more harshly than a man’s. Or is it (thankfully) that we’re no longer subjected to those as often, given the current climate? (We’ve come a long way, baby?) Maybe I’m over such self-centered navel gazing as a middle aged person myself. The whole notion is a cop out. Who doesn’t want to be young again? Who doesn’t envy those without cares? All in all, Cilla comes off as ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aging, middle-age, italy
A dark, treacherous exploration of sexuality, desire, aging, and grief. Cilla flees her aging, sick mother in LA. to help her widowed brother in law and niece in sweltering Rome. Twisted family dynamics & secrets aplenty will keep you turning the pages.
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An LA native, Liska Jacobs’s essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Literary Hub, Chicago Review of Books, The Millions, and The Hairpin, among other publications. Her first novel CATALINA (MCD | FSG Originals) was featured in Elle Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, W Magazine, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Daily News, and listed as a ...more