- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Gorsky Press (October 21, 2016)
Sex. Wine. Jazz. Existential dread.
Meet Bob, a sarcastic radio technician who has enough on his plate trying to navigate his forties without his Cambridge neighborhood becoming overrun by urban treehuggers and uppity intellectuals in tracksuits. Between a love triangle, a rapidly shrinking job market, and the looming threat of finally growing up, Bob is forced to dig deep―man―and figure out not just what he wants, but who he is. Change hits hard when you live in the past.
Louie Cronin’s breakthrough novel is a coming-of-middle-age story that pays homage to the everyday.
Buy, read, and discuss this book.
About the author, Louie Cronin
Louie Cronin, author of the novel Everyone Loves You Back, is a writer, radio producer and audio engineer. For ten years she served as NPR’s “Car Talk” traffic cop, producing the show and ensuring that every call was entertaining. A graduate of Boston University’s Masters program in Creative Writing and a past winner of the Ivan Gold Fiction Fellowship from the Writers’ Room of Boston, Louie has had her fiction and essays published in Compass Rose, The Princeton Arts Review, Long Island Newsday, The Boston Globe Magazine, and on PRI.org. Her short stories have been finalists for both Glimmer Train and New Millennium Writings awards. Louie has been awarded residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. Currently she works as a technical director for PRI’s The World and lives in Boston with her husband, the sculptor James Wright.
I saw the term “coming-of-middle-age” in the description for this novel, and that’s what hooked me first. I’m 46. As much as I love reading about people in their teens, twenties, and thirties, it’s rare for someone my age to be at the heart of a story.
In Everyone Loves You Back, Louie Cronin has done just that, though, and in Bob, she’s created a character that everyone my age, male and female, can relate to, at least a little.
As much as I loved all the behind-the-scenes radio station scenes – the way author Cronin so effectively used her own experiences in radio – it was the human story I vastly preferred. Bob is cantankerous, sarcastic, and at the point in life where change isn’t necessarily a good or welcome thing. He isn’t old, but he’s facing the reality that old age is closer than he wants.
I especially loved the working relationship friendship between Bob and on-air talent Riff. I don’t read a lot of novels with two strong male characters who aren’t competing for the same woman, and the pull of what’s best for the show, and the network, vs. what’s best for Bob himself was interesting to watch.
I also loved the often-frustrating interplay between Bob and his neighbor. My husband and I also work weird hours, so I know first-hand the awkwardness of trying to mesh the needs of the night owl with the more conventional schedules of the rest of society.
In all, Everyone Loves You Back is exactly as described: a funny, poignant, supremely real look at one man and his life, loves, dreams, and triumphs. It’s an immensely satisfying read, full of great characters and lovely details.
Goes well with clam chowder, buttered bread, and your favorite micro-brew.