Who doesn't love a hilarious tale about the divide between living in the city and the suburbs? Stacey Lender tackles that dynamic in her debut novel, City Mouse. The sharp and sophisticated novel takes you on a journey through the corrupt privilege of upper-middle-class suburbanites and the secrets that go on behind these seemingly perfect white picket fences. Priced out of their Manhattan apartment, Jessica and Aaron move with their young daughters to the one place Jessica swore she would never venture to: the suburbs! To her surprise, she quickly falls in with a clique of helpful mom friends who welcome her with open arms, neighborhood secrets, and a pitcher of margaritas. As the only working mom in her new circle, Jessica feels disconnected and alone. When she gets the invite to a moms-only weekend at the beach, her innocent idea of a girls bonding trip flipped upside down! When the trip turns into a series of eye-opening life lessons, Jessica must decide if she's strong enough to be honest with herself about the life she truly wants. Jessica's struggle to find her place in life is extremely relatable and will have you smiling and nodding along as you read!
Lender's inspiration from this book came from a story she heard about a bunch of moms who go for a weekend away and everyone cheats on their spouses! After hearing that she wasn't able to get that story out of her head. The great debate approached of whether Lender and her family should stay in the city or move to the suburbs, which is when she decided she wanted to turn this into a book.
Surprisingly, Lender and her family decided to stay in the city! Her tale of moving from the suburbs to the city is so accurate that we were shocked to hear that she didn't actually experience the transition herself. "The whole struggle is really personal to me," Lender explains. "We almost did go to the 'burbs, so the whole process of looking for a house and seeing what would be the best fit was something we actually went through. I talked to a lot of my friends who made the move, visited them in their new homes and I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who doesn't fit in."
The details about suburban life in City Mom are stunningly accurate, especially from someone who still lives in the city! That's because Lender actually grew up in Suffern New York, where the book takes place! The details depicted in the novel about the town, what life is like there, and the struggles of commuting into the city from work are all real counts from Lender's childhood experiences in Suffern as well as her friends who currently reside there.
Lender gives great advice to those who are contemplating a move from the city to the suburbs. "Really sit and think about what you want to do versus what you think you should do. I feel like all of our lives as moms are filled with 'shoulds'. You should do this for your kid, you should do this for yourself. It's a family decision when you do have kids and a spouse, everyone should have a say. It's hard to know what the right thing to do is, so if you can rent and dip your toe in, that's a great way to experience it!"
Stacey Lender's City Mouse is the perfect chic read with a narrative voice that is equal parts witty, observant, and vulnerable. We're looking forward to seeing what's next from this talented author!