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The Atlas of Love

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  2,073 ratings  ·  282 reviews
When Jill becomes both pregnant and single at the end of one spring semester, she and her two closest friends plunge into an experiment in tri-parenting, tri-schooling, and trihabitating as grad students in Seattle. Naturally, everything goes wrong, but in ways no one sees coming. Janey Duncan narrates the adventure of this modern family with hilarity and wisdom and shows ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 10th 2010)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,073 ratings  ·  282 reviews

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The people in this book are jerks. The narrator is a push-over, the baby mama is selfish, possibly psychotic (but don't you dare say anything bad because she's family!), and the token conservative friend seems like an afterthought.

The main problem is that Frankel took an anecdote - three graduate students band together to raise a baby - and tried to turn it into a novel. There was a lot of unnecessary padding, including long tirades about how haaaaard it is to be a grad student. Lady Author, I k
Feb 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Funny at times, close to home with the baby, the grad school, the teaching while in grad school with a baby, and all that. But also a bit annoying with the constant bestybestybest friend talk, and a tad unrealistic with all the best friending they do and sunday dinners they have while supposedly teaching and writing, much less raising a baby. But fun to read, and a nice pass of the time. I loved that it was set in Seattle.
Good. Fine.

The crisis, the center of the story, scared me to death becau
Oct 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
This was one of the worst books I've read in a long time. Absolutely hated the writing style; a whole LOT of telling and not showing. Then telling after showing just in case you missed it. I felt like saying to the author, "We get it! You don't have to over explain everything!" It really could have used an editor. In fact, it seemed like whoever did edit it just ran a spell check, because at times there were weird sentences that had obviously been rewritten and meant to be cut out. The character ...more
Kelly Francois
Sep 11, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was quite engrossing in the beginning. I loved the relationship between the 3 main characters. They are all so different, yet they find that they balance one another out. As the story goes on, it starts to get a bit wordy. The narrator is an English Phd student and teacher, so she is CONSTANTLY talking about how what she is teaching in her class and how it relates to the drama in her life...and DRAMA there is...maybe even a little too much. Perhaps that's the point, though. Also, one o ...more
Sarah Frobisher
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I got it from the library, but am planning on buying it to read again. I was laughing out loud within just a few pages of starting it. It was lighthearted and fun; while also dealing with serious issues of single parenthood, family, and friendships. The character development was great and I felt like I knew the characters well by the end of the book. Fantastic read.
I bought this for the cover - the baby is so damn cute I couldn't resist. And I knew my mom would like it (for the same reason) so I figured why not.
It's a really cute premise - 3 friends raising the baby but it was a bit boring. They're all in school so we pretty much had to read the syllabus for Janey's literature class. Look, I hardly read for my classes, why should I have to "sit through" a pretend class? And there really wasn't much interaction between the girls and the baby, except to say
Sue Hess
Aug 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in awhile I read a book compulsively. That means I read as I prepare dinner; I read when I am supposed to be working; I read in every spare moment I can find. The Atlas of Love is my latest compulsive read. I could not put this book down, and it has stayed with me since I finished it. Instead of reading something new, I only want to re-read this book.

Laurie Frankel has a gift for writing. The story is wonderfully compelling. I found myself thinking about what defines a family... blood
Mary Herring
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read three of this author’s books and this is my favorite by far. It is about friends, family and friends who become family (my favorite kind of story)! Frankel must have some amazing grandmother, because the grandmother in all three of her novels has played a major role!
Jill Meyer
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Laurie Frankel's debut novel, "The Atlas of Love" is a small and wonderful slice of life set in Seattle. Three best friends from graduate school - where they're both teaching and working on their PH.Ds - form a "family" when one of the women becomes pregnant and does not marry the father. Sharing mothering duties, house duties, and teaching duties, the three women - Jill, the baby's mother, and Janie and Katie - make up a house/family unit that also includes parents and grandparents of the women ...more
I finished this yesterday and immediately recommended it to a friend. It's not that it was the absolute best book I've ever read, but it had moments of such insight, clarity, and humor, that it captured me. I think one of the things I enjoyed the most was that this patchwork family of three women who come together to help raise the baby one of them has are all English Lit grad students. The constant interplay of literature in their lives was like hot fudge on ice cream, certainly not necessary, ...more
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Do graduate students really talk to each other that way? I don't remember having time to formulate intricate conversations or thoughts when I was in grad school, but I guess that's just me. Anyway, I must also be a horrible person because if a friend pulled shit on me like the shit Jill pulled on Janey, I would write them off forever because, frankly, life is too short for that kind of bullshit and assholelike behavior. And isn't that sort of the point of the book? Sometimes you need to take a l ...more
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it
An enjoyable read, for the most part. Starts promising, then gets a bit annoying, then gets engaging, then frustrating, then somewhat satisfying. Frankel writes chick-lit for chicks with brains. The story of what happens when three grad student friends raise a baby together feels realistic, and there are genuine funny and heartfelt moments, particularly involving the main character Janey and her family. Overall, it's a nice tome about modern families and what family really means, and only became ...more
Ginnie Leiner
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books I have read in a very long time. The storyline is that three female graduate students, friends just recently, decided to move in together when one, Jill, discovers she is accidentally pregnant with her long time boyfriend's child. The boyfriend, after much discussion, departs only to return later and stir up the mix.

The book raised such questions as What makes a woman a mother? Clearly giving birth is not the deciding factor. What makes a family? My mother's sayin
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love this one! It made me cry! 😊
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3½ stars

After reading Laurie Frankel's new novel, "This Is How it Always Is," I loved it so much that I sought out another Laurie Frankel book. "The Atlas of Love" is her first. I am not knowledgable enough about literature to analyze why I loved "This..." but struggled at times to get through "Atlas." I will say, it was worth it, this story of baby Atlas and the de facto family of birth mom, girlfriends, guy friends, relatives and others who band together to take care of him in his first year o
Patty Pacelli
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun story with interesting characters and lots of witty, entertaining dialogue and narration.
Austen to Zafón
Mar 20, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm reading several other books, but every time I go to the library, I see some book on the "New Realeases" shelf that I can't resist. This was one of those. Abandoning my other books, I plowed through this one quickly and in the end, although I was frustrated with the characters throughout most the book, I was engaged by the plot. Janey, an English lit grad student/teacher at a Seattle university (called Rainier in the book) makes friends with two other grad students. One is Mormon and constant ...more
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
What makes us a family? Sharing the same mother and father? Our siblings or grandparents? What about the close family friend who, as long as you can remember, you called Uncle So and So even though he is not your mother’s brother or your father’s. And your best friend. . . is she family? She may not be your sister, but you certainly feel as though she is. In The Atlas of Love, the debut novel by Laurie Frankel, this question is pushed to its limits.

No matter how we plan our lives, right down to
Jaclyn Day
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I picked this up from a Borders clearance sale that Brandon and I popped into recently (all books 90% off…it was sad and exhilarating at the same time). I thought the cover looked cute and I’m never one to turn down a book that costs about $1. (Again, so sad!)

Because I paid such a low price for the book and because it was one of the “leftovers” in the fiction section, I didn’t have high expectations. I just wanted to be entertained and thought it looked like a good, light read…perfect for readin
Aug 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-books
A fast, easy read that was not total fluff. It truly does take a village to raise a child!

Being that the main character was an English lit teacher; I did feel at times I was being spoon-fed the moral of the story. It was only mildly annoying, though. For the most part, I liked the book. I was sorry that Jill's character didn't evolve in the way I thought it should. Instead of becoming more close to her friends who have been supporting and helping her with her child; she seems to go more in the o
Alexis Leon
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
The story of three graduate students who decide to raise a baby when one of them gets pregnant. We are treated to first-person narration from one of the three women in question, and because all three are literary graduate students we are treated to prose that sometimes lush, sometimes overdone, often predictable, but always fun. Perhaps I am biased because it initially sounded like a great idea: a women's commune using the "it takes a village" approach to raising a kid, and having a little one a ...more
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
I loved the way this novelist interwove the stories of three grad school girlfriends who band together to become (almost) a family when one of them becomes a single mother. Thus, three Moms and a baby named Atlas. This was a quick read while traveling. Usually I leave used books behind when I am traveling (I just gave one to the gal who prepared our breakfasts in Hot Springs, AR), but I held onto this one so I could pass it along to friends.

The Atlas of Love is narrated by Janey Duncan, a lit m
Jun 20, 2011 rated it liked it
It started out kind of slow but toward the end it picked up. About three best friend grad students that move in together after finding out one of them is pregnant and the baby daddy doesn't want anything to do with it. They share parenting responsibilities, the narrator is the responsible one who gets attached to the baby and feels like she is just as much a mom as the real mom. This obviously causes problems. There are life changes throughout the whole book, death, relationships (broken and me ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
I loved this book. I didn't give it five stars, because I reserve five stars for books that I'll reread at any time and I'm not sure I'll ever reread this, but as I read it, I loved. I picked it up off the shelf because of the adorable baby on the front (now I'm trying to ignore the fact that the baby is dressed in girl clothes but the baby in the book is a boy), but I bought it because the characters were book lovers. I loved the way Frankel tied literature and literary theory into the story. F ...more
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction
I'd really say this falls somewhere between two and three stars. The three main characters aren't terribly likable, one is a downright bitch, but the supporting characters are more pleasant and the story has its moments. It could be cut down a bit too, lots of unneeded words and thoughts and all together too much navel gazing. I skimmed the last four to five chapters, just reading the important-to-the-story parts. I'm not going to recommend this as a must-read but if you've got some time and not ...more
Jun 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
Ugh, this book seemed okay in the 1st half and then was ridiculously annoying in the second half. Also there was one really, truly unlikeable character who we were supposed to appreciate but that wasn't happening. You got the feeling, as you went along, that the author was earnestly trying to impart all this intense wisdom about life and relationships when really it was just a muddled, annoying mess. Ugh.
Laurie Bass
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book SO very much. Beautifully written...I can't believe it is her first novel. I was only slightly disappointed with the rather minimal effort the author spent addressing the resolution of the major conflict near the end of the story, which was HUGE. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic book with amazing characters and a story of family made both by blood and by choice. Highly recommend!
West Hartford Public Library
Baby Atlas has no dad but three moms - Jill and her two best friends. Heartwarming, filled with humor and a touch of drama - great summer reading!
Aug 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't get into it and gave up.
April Plummer
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If my first novel were this good...

...I'd be in love with myself. I'd be head-over-heels, in love with the pen in my hand and the way the words splashed across the page in front of me.

I just read Laurie Frankel's first novel, and I am now in love with her.

I don't often do book reviews on my blog. I try to do some sort of review for every book I read on Goodreads and Amazon, and I wish I had time to do them all justice.

Before this book, I found two new favorites: This Glittering World by T. Green
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Laurie Frankel is the New York Times Bestselling author of three novels, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS, GOODBYE FOR NOW, and THE ATLAS OF LOVE. She lives with her family on a very steep hill in Seattle, but she's an east coaster at heart. She is also a baseball fan, a soup maker, a theater lover, a yoga practicer, a comma expert, and a huge reader. Welcome!!

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“Yeah, but you’re lucky, Janey, he said. You have so many good friends. You have people to do stuff with. You have more friends than time to hang out with them, and they’re all near you. Finding love is easy- it’s fate- you just sit back and let it happen, have faith that if it hasn’t yet, it will soon, but then that’s done, and you realize you’re on your own for the rest of your life. It’s up to you to make the rest of it happen because destiny is done with you, at least as far as your social life goes” 5 likes
“Feminist narrative theory notes that for most of literary history there's been an imbalance between men's and women's stories. Male characters go out into a world of infinite possibilities. Female characters either get married or die. This makes enlightened female readers such as ourselves pissed off. But however much we deconstruct the narrative, however vigilantly we plow and apply the theory and read with our skeptical, over-educated eyes, still some lessons are hard to fully internalize, and the dream of happily-ever-after love, in real life and in literature, dies hardest of all.” 1 likes
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