Goodreads: Trophy Life
Publish date: 09 April 2019
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction
For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons’s biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.
When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor—all day, every day.
But it’s in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become…or the trophy life she left behind.
This was slow to start and was a little difficult to get into at first but once the story got rolling, I found the ‘light and fluffy’ contemporary I expected. I didn’t find it very surprising or different to anything that I’ve read in women’s fiction before though. For some reason (probably based on the cover) I might have thought the story and characters would be more comedic, but it was still an enjoyable and entertaining enough read.
We get a small glimpse into the ‘trophy life’ that Agnes leads as a young mother married to an older man in California. However, that quickly goes downhill as Agnes ‘gets a feeling’ that something is wrong with Jack when he doesn’t show up to their pre-scheduled monthly couples massage. Honestly, I don’t really understand how it happened because there was nothing to indicate that something was wrong; so to me the main conflict of the story felt like it came out of left field, but I went along with it anyway. As her life unravels, Agnes has to pick up and move East to start teaching at a private school for troubled boys and to me, that’s when the story starts to get a lot more interesting.
I found myself a little ‘meh’ with Agnes’ character at the start. I understood that her upbringing of ‘not ever having enough’ and constantly pinching pennies strongly influenced her willingness to accept the security in the ‘trophy life’ that Jack gave her. But her monologues always indicated that she felt like she never fit in and that it was too much outside of her comfort zone. After a certain point though I found myself growing more frustrated with Agnes’ willingness to just accept what was happening even though she was being kept completely in the dark. I get that she believed this new life she had to endure in New York was only temporary but the more she was let down by Jack’s disappearance, the more I wished she stood up for and focused on herself. It was obvious that although she got used to the trophy life, she found this new life more within her comfort zone, so what was wrong with that?
I did enjoy Agnes’ growth throughout the story although it took much longer than I feel it should’ve because she couldn’t stop worrying about her turd of a husband, Jack. He had such control over her life that every move she made she constantly reflected on what Jack would think of it and it was never, ever positive. He really diminished her potential and it was really quite sad and frustrating to see how she was blind to it. I was really hoping to see more of how Agnes grew through teaching ‘her boys’, the troublemaking middle schoolers who were pretty annoying at first, but quickly won me over with their antics. I think this would’ve been a much more uplifting and heart warming read had it given a stronger focus to this part of the story. I also liked the growth that other minor-ish characters experienced and how they came together to support one another in the end!
Overall, it was an entertaining story that saw some satisfying growth in the main character. The ending was quite abrupt and wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be, but I’m glad that Agnes at least grew more of a back bone to stand up for herself and to reach for the life she wanted to lead. I’m glad that I gave this one a go and I’d be curious to read what Geller comes out with next!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers the eARC in exchange for an honest review. This book is now out!
Have you read Trophy Life or is it on your TBR?