Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Book Review: Multiple Listings
In my non-reader life, I’m a real estate agent. So when Melissa was pitched a book called Multiple Listings, right away she knew it was for me. It’s fun to sell houses. It’s even more fun reading about other people selling houses!
The heroine of Tracy McMillan’s Multiple Listings, Nicki Daniels, isn’t a real estate agent after all, but a home appraiser who owns her own business. This enables her to make a lot of money while apparently doing very little work. It doesn’t keep her from making one of the most common mistakes that new home buyers make, though – overpaying for a house she doesn’t really want and definitely can’t afford in order to please her boyfriend, Jake.
Despite the title, Multiple Listings isn’t about houses at all. It centers around the relationship between Nicki and her estranged father Ronnie, who just got out of prison after spending seventeen years locked up. He learned a lot in those years, though, and is determined not to make the same mistakes. The biggest lesson is that because his mother ignored him, he learned to be a charming liar who only told women what they wanted to hear, rather than the truth. And he blames his lousy parenting for Nicki’s own bad taste in men. She’s a single mom to teenage Cody, who never knew his father, and soon after the book starts, Jake reveals his true colors and leaves Nicki holding the bag for the house they were supposed to live in together, and the restaurant they were supposed to run. Meanwhile, Cody is skipping school and maybe dabbling in drugs. He clearly needs a firm hand to guide him into manhood. Could Ronnie possibly be that hand?
Multiple Listings alternates between Ronnie and Nicki’s first person points of view. Both characters are richly drawn and highly sympathetic. Ronnie, however, seemed a little too good to be true to me, as well as unbelievably self-aware. The cast also includes Nicki’s crazy best friend Peaches.
McMillan is a TV writer whose credits include Mad Men, and Multiple Listings reads more like the first several episodes of a television situation comedy than a novel. The stakes are relatively minor in the way that sitcom episodes play out, and the characters’ personalities are center stage, rather than plot twists. This will frustrate readers who expect novels to revolve around a single story, but the characters are enjoyable, and the low stakes allow readers to get to know them well.
However, if you’re looking for a story that will recreate House Hunters or Love it or List it in novel form, Multiple Listings is not that book. You may want to have HGTV on in the background while you’re reading it.
Thanks to Gallery for the book in exchange for an honest review.
Enter to win a copy from:
Book Mama Blog (Worldwide. Ends March 14th.)
Confessions of a Bookaholic! (Worldwide. Ends March 14th.)
Shelf Awareness (Ends March 20th.)