LAST COUPLE STANDING gets my vote for the best escapism from the s***show of 2020. A hilarious novel with a big heart, it explores complex relationships and serious family turning points with empathy, hope, and laugh-out-loud moments.
What couple hasn’t wanted to breathe new life into the craziness and exhaustion of their marriage while raising young kids? What forty-something woman or man hasn’t wanted to feel desired by an attractive stranger?
With their closest friends getting divorced because of sex—either lack of, or with other people—Jennifer and Mitch are the last couple standing in their group. He’s a beloved high school English teacher, she’s a successful psychologist. They’re good together; they binge on golden Oreos when the kids are asleep, still go on date night, and have great banter. Their wooden bed might be broken–literally, they sleep on the floor–but their marriage is not.
Even so, they come up with a radical idea to save the marriage before it needs saving. The agreed-upon conditions and ground rules blur the lines of fidelity, but will launch them into a more relaxed, evolved marriage. That’s the big plan, and it goes horribly wrong. Or does it?
I loved all the characters, but especially Mitch, who can’t handle three negronis (a gin cocktail) and accidentally traumatizes his kids by suggesting they watch one of his favorite movies, ET. In their young minds, ET becomes the monster that haunts their bedrooms and ensures no one in the house gets a good night’s sleep.
The penultimate scene is one of the best and funniest I’ve ever read. It brings all the threads and characters together on a suburban driveaway. No spoilers, but it definitely belongs to Mitch and Jennifer’s seven-year-old daughter.
Want to buy yourself a Christmas present? Order this book from your local indie bookstore.