It’s September 2018. In Washington, D.C.,—and in cities and towns across America—women have taken to the streets to protest a Supreme Court nominee. And in Starkfield, Massachusetts—a sleepy rural town where nothing much ever happens—Ethan Frome’s otherwise quiet life has turned upside down.

Ethan’s wife, Zo, is so enraged by the national political scene that she’s transformed their home into a local headquarters for the Resistance. His college roommate and former business partner faces #metoo allegations, sending Ethan into increasingly desperate financial straits. His unruly, headstrong daughter, Alex, grows more challenging by the day.

Enter Maddy Silver—a breezy, blue-haired millennial making her way through the gig economy. Suddenly Ethan and Zo must question everything: their past, their future, their marriage, and what they value most. And all the while, a world-rocking cultural smash-up inches ever closer to home.

Inspired by a classic Edith Wharton novella about a strained marriage in a small town, The Smash-Up is at once an intimate, moving portrait of a family in distress, a vivid examination of our roiling national rancor, and a powerful exploration of how the things we fail to notice can shatter a family, a community, and a nation.
airbrushed hippie dolls

The opening lines of The Smash-Up pose a question: What happened? Those words remind me of how I felt in 2016…and then later, in 2018, as inexplicable events unfolded. A world I could not imagine or accept.

As we follow the journey of Zo and Ethan and their daughter Alex, we see how these events changed lives into something almost twisted. How will these characters survive the world that they are now protesting?

I enjoyed watching the characters as they traverse these changes around them, dealing with things as much as possible, but also struggling. Their livelihoods are at risk and how their family moves forward, even as they remember the events of the past that brought them together, might be impossible.

A beautifully written story that kept me turning pages, I give this one 5 stars for how it gripped and resonated with me.



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