The Fallback Plan

The Fallback Plan

2.6 5
by Leigh Stein
     
 

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A hilarious debut  novel about the tricky period between graduating from college and moving out of your parents’ house

What to do when you’ve just graduated from college and your plans conflict with those of your parents? That is, when your plans to hang out on the couch, re-read your favorite children’s books, and take old

Overview

A hilarious debut  novel about the tricky period between graduating from college and moving out of your parents’ house

What to do when you’ve just graduated from college and your plans conflict with those of your parents? That is, when your plans to hang out on the couch, re-read your favorite children’s books, and take old prescription tranquilizers, conflict with your parents plans that you, well, get a job?
 
Without a fallback plan, Eshter Kohler decides she has no choice but to take the job her mother has lined up for her: babysitting for their neighbors, the Browns.
 
It’s a tricky job, though. Six months earlier, the Browns’ youngest child died. Still, as Esther finds herself falling in love with their surviving daughter May, and distracted by a confusing romance with one of her friends, she doesn’t notice quite how tricky the job is … until she finds herself assuming the role of confidante to May’s mother Amy, and partner in crime to Amy’s husband Nate. Trapped in conflicting roles doomed to collide, Esther is forced to come up with a better idea of who she really is.
 
Both hilarious and heartbreaking, The Fallback Plan is a beautifully written and moving story of what we must leave behind, and what we manage to hold on to, as we navigate the treacherous terrain between youth and adulthood.
 


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stein, 26, captures the voice of the young 20-something prodigal daughter with the clarion call of authenticity in her debut novel. Esther Kohler is a burned-out recent college grad who has returned to the claustrophobic embrace of her suburban family home following a depressive episode in her final semester at Northwestern University. An aspiring actress and screenwriter (Esther’s inchoate screenplay features characters and tropes borrowed from her favorite childhood books), she spends her days taking prescription pills and tagging along on the misadventures of her childhood friend, Pickle, and his “devastatingly attractive” but unstable buddy, Jack. Esther’s poor decision-making skills have an amusing universality, and Stein’s dry humor lends a nicely angst-free tone to her misadventures. In acquiescence to her parents, she accepts a babysitting job for a family who recently lost a child. Esther finds her own life becoming inextricably linked with a family with “real problems,” forcing her to take that last step away from adolescence and to embrace the future. Stein’s light, accessible, self-deprecating prose makes this coming-of-age story a pleasure. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"This book has a universal quality, capturing a generation's angst quite like Franny and Zooey did when it was published in 1961."—Chicago Tribune

"The Fallback Plan is to this generation what Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm was to the previous generation, and The Catcher in the Rye before that."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Review of Books

"Stein’s wry voice shines through... her self-aware take on the self-pitying recession-grad generation is compelling reading." —The Millions

"Stein, 26, captures the voice of the young 20-something prodigal daughter with the clarion call of authenticity in her debut novel. ... Stein’s light, accessible, self-deprecating prose makes this coming-of-age story a pleasure."—Publishers Weekly

"Stein's fluid style is peppered with wryness and pop-culture references...[she] seems poised to become the Lena Dunham of contemporary fiction."—ELLE

"Readers will endorse Esther Kohler’s voice as being not only funny, but also true. It echoes long after her story ends, and “The Fallback Plan’’ is a novel everyone under 30 will relate to with familiar pangs of self-loathing and sympathy."—Boston Globe

"An existential crisis of lost 20-somethings that pretty much everyone can relate to."—NYLON 

"Cheeky, self-assured prose."—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
"Beautiful, funny, thrilling and true."—Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story)
 
“Intimate, urgent, and laugh-out-loud funny, Leigh Stein's novel bravely investigates the splendor and tragedy of the end of youth with a sensitivity and lyrical deftness that will not disappoint. Think Franny and Zooey. Think Goodbye, Columbus. Think of this book as your next great read.”—Joe Meno (Hairstyles of the Damned, The Great Perhaps)

"[A] fantastic book whose charm and warmth beg for a second read-through."—InDigest Magazine

" The Fallback Plan has got it all: Sex, love, drugs, death, infidelity and one very confused post-grad."—College Magazine

Library Journal
A new genre has emerged in current popular culture of slacker stories about twenty-somethings—mostly young men—who lack any ambition beyond channel surfing, playing video games, and staying stoned. Stein's debut joins this trend with the story of Esther Kohler, a recent college graduate with no job prospects and no fallback plan beyond moving into her parents' guest room. After weeks of hanging out with friends who are even more lost than she is, Esther is pushed into accepting a babysitting job. Spending time with a four-year-old is within her skill range, but she's out of her depth with the parents, who are grieving the loss of a baby. VERDICT Esther's initial lethargy is so complete readers may wonder why they should bother to keep turning the pages. If they do, they will be rewarded with a graceful twist of redemption. The mix of self-absorption, depression, and grief does not always sit well together, but Stein makes the final chapters work.—Jan Blodgett, Davidson, NC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781612190433
Publisher:
Melville House Publishing
Publication date:
01/03/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
2 MB

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Stein’s wry voice shines through... her self-aware take on the self-pitying recession-grad generation is compelling reading." —The Millions

"Stein, 26, captures the voice of the young 20-something prodigal daughter with the clarion call of authenticity in her debut novel. ... Stein’s light, accessible, self-deprecating prose makes this coming-of-age story a pleasure."—Publishers Weekly

"Stein's fluid style is peppered with wryness and pop-culture references...[she] seems poised to become the Lena Dunham of contemporary fiction."—ELLE

"Readers will endorse Esther Kohler’s voice as being not only funny, but also true. It echoes long after her story ends, and “The Fallback Plan’’ is a novel everyone under 30 will relate to with familiar pangs of self-loathing and sympathy."—Boston Globe

"An existential crisis of lost 20-somethings that pretty much everyone can relate to."—NYLON 

"Cheeky, self-assured prose."—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
"Beautiful, funny, thrilling and true."—Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story)
 
“Intimate, urgent, and laugh-out-loud funny, Leigh Stein's novel bravely investigates the splendor and tragedy of the end of youth with a sensitivity and lyrical deftness that will not disappoint. Think Franny and Zooey. Think Goodbye, Columbus. Think of this book as your next great read.”—Joe Meno (Hairstyles of the Damned, The Great Perhaps)

"[A] fantastic book whose charm and warmth beg for a second read-through."—InDigest Magazine

"This book has a universal quality, capturing a generation's angst quite like Franny and Zooey did when it was published in 1961."—Chicago Tribune

"The Fallback Plan is to this generation what Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm was to the previous generation, and The Catcher in the Rye before that."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Review of Books

" The Fallback Plan has got it all: Sex, love, drugs, death, infidelity and one very confused post-grad."—College Magazine

Meet the Author

This is Leigh Stein’s first novel, although at 26 she is already an accomplished writer. A former New Yorker staffer and frequent contributor to its “Book Bench” blog, her poetry has been published in numerous journals, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and earned her Poets & Writers Magazine’s Amy Award. She lives in Brooklyn, where she works in children’s publishing and teaches musical theater to elementary school students.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Fallback Plan 2.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a recent college graduate from Illinois, moved into the guest room and doing odd jobs, I wondered a little if I was being stalked while this book was written. I came to this book looking for answers, and the fact that I didn't find any explicit ones but ended happy was refreshing. I think the clinically depressed, pill-popping twenty-something skating through life is a bit overused, and occasionally frustrating, but the tone and style recover the stereotype. Most of the characters are cookie-cutter and half-baked (figuratively and literally), with Esther and May being the most intriguing, but for the length and scope of the book, this is actually perfect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Predictable. Lacks development of plot and characters. I would not recommend this book to others
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What had the potential for an insightful novel became a self serving meandering mess
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago