Other People's Houses

Other People's Houses

by Abbi Waxman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399587924
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 104,313
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Abbi Waxman, the author of The Garden of Small Beginnings, is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband.

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Excerpted from "Other People's Houses"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Abbi Waxman.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

Readers guide for

Other People’s Houses

Discussion Questions



1. In this book the neighborhood plays an important role. What other situations create this kind of community, and how does seeing people every day change your relationship to them?
2. The central character, Frances Bloom, is someone who likes to help, because it makes her feel useful. Do you know someone like this? Do you find it easier to help or be helped?
3. Frances and Michael have a very happy but not very romantic marriage. Do you think that this will eventually drive them apart?
4. Anne Porter has an affair and nearly destroys her marriage. How important is sexual fidelity? Is it the most important element in a marriage? Can trust be rebuilt after a betrayal of this kind?
5. How much do children understand their parents’ marriage? How hard is it to maintain privacy in a relationship once you have children?
6. Sara and Iris are experiencing communication problems in their marriage, although it’s very strong. Have you gone through something similar, where communication breaks down for no apparent reason, and then becomes difficult to reopen?
7. Anne felt she was someone else in her affair, that it was something just for her. Ava also mentions a strong desire to be her own person, driving her own choices. How hard is it to balance a sense of self with responsibilities within a family?
8. Frances and Ava are navigating their changing relationship as Ava becomes more independent. Did you struggle against your parents or one parent in particular as you were becoming an adult? How do you think the experience of adolescence has changed since you were a teenager?
9. The title, Other People’s Houses, alludes to the impression one gets of someone just by looking at them. How much can you really tell about someone based on their home, or the way they dress? Is appearance an expression of character, or armor?
10. Bill and Julie Horton are dealing with a challenging time in a very private way. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of approaching it this way?

Customer Reviews

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Other People's Houses 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
MamaHendo 11 days ago
Francis is the quintessential stay-at-home mom. She is the neighborhood carpool driver, she volunteers at her children's school, she is the emergency contact for several of her friends and she is the one who accidentally begins to unravel the neighborhood's secrets. Francis & Michael, Iris & Sara, Anne & Charlie, and Bill & Julie are all friends who live on the same street and rely on each other to keep their families going. One morning during carpool Anne's daughter remembers she left something at home and Francis offers to run back and get it. Upon arriving at Anne & Charlie's, however, Francis finds herself placed in an impossible situation that eventually will pull the group apart. "Other People's Houses" is a multi-POV that is so quirky and hilarious. Abbi Waxman has created an entire neighborhood of characters that are brilliantly flawed, realistic and relatable. While reading this I kept thinking that this would make a perfect TV show. Looking at you, Netflix! Be sure to add this to your TBR list for the next time you need a little escape from your day to day.
HowUsefulItIs More than 1 year ago
I started reading Other People's Houses on 10/23/2018 and finished it on 11/4/2018 at 1:05am. This book is an excellent read! I love it right from the first chapter. The characters' day to day life are realistic and can be relatable to many readers. I like following Frances' view. I like her "trust but verify" rule when comes to her kids. I like her blunt humorous thoughts on the weight she gains, what she eats, and the battle she goes through when she wants to have a chat with her teen daughter. I like following Iris' views because she gives a clear honest opinion about lesbian marriage. That bit of mystery with Bill's wife keeps the suspense and mystery going. Anne's story is interesting to read as well. 
This book is told in the third person point of view following Frances Bloom, stay at home mom, as she drives 7 children to school in her minivan. She has 3 children of her own and the rest are her neighbors' children. The second view is Anne. Frances stops by Anne's house to pick up the toilet tubes that Anne's daughter Kate forgets and caught Anne unexpectedly having fun on her living room floor. The third & fourth views are of Iris and Sara, where Iris is Frances' cousin. The fifth view is Bill Horton, neighbor across the street from Frances. The sixth view is Michael, Frances' husband. The seventh view is Charlie, Anne's husband who is very patience with Kate. These four families all live in the same neighborhood. They are all connected to each other through their children. 
Other People's Houses is very well written and a fun read! I like that I don't have to wonder what the characters, both main and supporting, are thinking because there are snippets of their inner thoughts when the conversations occur. There's more swearing than I'm comfortable with but luckily the 14 year old is the youngest to use bad words. This book gives a clear view of what a stay-at-home mom do. It is definitely a good read for those who are married with kids. I like the kids, especially Milo and Theo. Theo is such a sweet older brother to Kate. That twist at the end was unexpected. I highly recommend everyone to read this book! Pro: fast paced, page turner, humor, realistic, family, marriage, neighbors, mystery 
Con: none 
I rate it 5 stars! ***Disclaimer: I won a copy of Other People's Houses from a Goodreads giveaway hosted by the publisher. Many thanks to Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.
 xoxo,
Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details 

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If youre interested in the livesof seemingly normal people thn this is perfect for you. Readng this made me feel better about my life, making me realize that we all have a story thats uniquely ours.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings First, I have to compliment the author or editor by including in the first few pages a page with the breakdown of whose whose in each family. AND then a map of the neighborhood! Yes please, I loved these extra add ons in the beginning. As far as the families as the stories, it was all just ok with me. I loved the drama that is presented from the beginning with a stepford mom finding another mom having some sexy time with a man that is clearly not her husband. There were also some moments in each family that I laughed or cried or cringed, but overall it was just ok. The family that I loved peeking in on the most was Francis. I could relate with her need for perfection and being the one that her family and friends called and the need to be needed, so I would say when she wasn't involved I didn't love it as much.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
Grab a cold drink and clear your afternoon for this one. I’ve been reading some pretty good books lately. Frances Bloom is THAT mom. She’s the carpool mom and people in the neighborhood look up to her. She’s a friendly approachable type, reliable, and thoughtful but as she shuttles the neighborhood kids to and from school each day, she can’t help but see the imperfections of her own little neighborhood, Her close, married friend is having an affair with a much younger man, affecting the neighborhood in many ways. One of the moms on the street is MIA (what’s that about?). Her cousin who happens to live just down the street from her is wanting another baby even though her partner may not want one. With all this going on around her, Frances begins to doubt her own happiness. Does she have a happy marriage? Has the thirty pounds she’s gained over the years driven a wedge between her and her husband? This all sounds rather domestic and fluffy but I have to say that it’s pretty realistic as far as neighborhoods go. If you really pay attention while walking the dog, you see things. Reading this book is like flinging a window open and sticking your face right into your neighbor’s house. The story is a bit scandalous and there’s some language. It feels kind of naughty and wrong. I can’t lie, I ate it up. Because along with wrong, there’s a lot that’s right. There’s a lot of honesty within these characters and truthfully, I could relate to several of these families in some way. There are mixed reviews of this book. I’d hazard to guess that those who had trouble with it, probably couldn’t relate to any of the families in the story. But if you’ve ever done a carpool, been on the PTA with a bunch of catty wenches, lived in a tight-knit community, and had your best friend’s marriage fall apart, you’ll find plenty to relate to because there’s a little bit of everything in here and I found it to be pretty authentic in the telling. Plus, it’s got some juicy bits and at one point I was laughing out loud.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book. My emotions were all over the place. Frances tries so hard to be a nurturer for everyone that she forgets to take care of herself. Moms will relate. The struggle with her teenagers every mom will relate. Great read!
Xkoqueen More than 1 year ago
Other People’s Houses is a humorous take on a classic tale of daily suburban life, parenthood, and marriage. The women on who live on Frances Bloom’s street individually lament how suburbia and children have affected their career, body, and personal grace. While they all have the life they thought they wanted, none seem to be happy, just busy and tired. When one woman’s illicit affair is exposed, it sets off an epidemic of malaise as if infidelity and divorce are a communicable disease. Ms. Waxman's wry take on suburban life is as wickedly good and addicting as any night-time television melodrama. The trials and tribulations of daily life in the Larchmont suburb of Los Angeles are presented lightheartedly as the characters experience what growing old together genuinely means. Author Abbi Waxman clearly shows her readers that regular/normal families are often less humdrum than presumed behind their closed door. #OtherPeople'sHouses #NetGalley
Taylor Collier More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars! Frances Bloom is a stay-at-home mom who runs the neighborhood carpool and sometimes finds herself knowing more about her neighbors lives than she bargains for. One morning Frances walks in on neighbor Anne..on the floor..naked..with a man who is not her husband. As hard as she tries to stay out of it, Frances is still drug into the middle of the drama and the sh*tshow that follows. The book bounces between many different characters POV but it is mainly told by Frances. Frances is hilarious and snarky, but caring and honest and felt like an actual person. I am not a mother, but one day I hope to parent just like Frances, with a sense of humor and empathy for the little monsters you have birthed. The conversations with her 14 year old daughter were seriously Mom goals and the late-night talks with her husband had me laughing out loud and also swooning in a weird kind of way. Their "romance" wasn't your typical romance, which I loved because I get so tired of couples swinging from crazy in love to cheating and hating each other. This felt REAL. Real adults, real conversations, real tired. “Marriage had so little to do with the bedroom, and so much to do with every other room in the house.” Frances is officially my new best book friend. Am I #fangirling too hard over here? I really can't say that there's anything I DIDN'T like about this book. The conversations felt incredibly real and raw, and the relationships between characters was just as genuine. The emotional roller coaster of the neighbors affair and the fallout that followed wasn't at all predictable and held my attention in the best way. Also, I can hands down say this was the funniest book I have ever read. I LOL'ed like an idiot multiple times. Now, this isn't one of those books that book clubs everywhere will be obsessing over and having serious discussions about (ex. The Light We Lost, The Nightingale, The Goldfinch) but if your book club wants a funny, relatable read that is enjoyable and entertaining and makes you think, (but not too much) Other People's Houses should be on your list. I will definitely be reading Waxman's other novel, The Garden of Small Beginnings.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
Other People’s Houses is such a realistic story. Maybe not all the storylines would be happening at the same time, but it is the idea that closed doors every family has their own world happening. As the neighbors look on, there are things that should be kept private yet in a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone it is close to impossible. Many times the happenings behind closed doors become more drama than they have to be just because of other’s opinions, “help”, or just plain nosiness. Frances was the know all in her neighborhood. Probably due to the fact that she was the stay at home mom that everyone turned to when they needed help. She was given an inside look, through the kids especially, behind the walls of her neighbors. She tried to help everyone, she had her nose in everyone’s household, but she was not the gossip. She knew what was happening, she was willing to help, and she didn’t spread their gossip around. The other characters all tell their story but Frances is the main narrator. I liked being able to hear firsthand what has happening in their lives and getting an inside look at their lives. Some of the problems were heavy, some were not so heavy, but all were realistic to the real lives in US. I laughed, I blushed, and I felt compassion for most of the characters. I am recommending this book to anyone who enjoys getting an inside look at the lives of others.
Sheila Lee More than 1 year ago
Hollywood should make this book into a movie! Other People's Houses is a saga of a small family-oriented neighborhood and the interrelationships between persons. Abbi Waxman writes both a humorous and thoughtful story (I really loved her characterization of Frances and her hilarious wit). This book deals with the real life issues of rearing children from 4 to 14, infidelity and coping during family crises. Although the author uses humor to tone down some of the intensity, she reveals a brutal honesty of complicated relationships between spouses, parents, siblings and friends. This book is enjoyable and thought-provoking, a rare combination.
ReadingLlama More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would! It's a quirky, humorous and insightful take on suburban family life, including the carpool, Saturday morning soccer, the neighborhood gossip vine, and why it's always a pizza delivery guy in porn films. The main plot revolves around Frances, called St. Frances by some of the moms at school, stay-at-home mom of two and carpool driver, and the suburban LA neighborhood she lives in, including her cousin Iris and her wife Sara, Bill and his missing wife Julie, Anne and Charles, and Anne's twenty-something paramour... It's Frances, always helpful Frances, who walks in on Anne and her boyfriend while retrieving forgotten craft supplies, and the revelation of the affair leads to everyone in the neighborhood re-evaluating what they really know about their families and their neighbors. I think my favorite part of this book was how relatably honest and brutally insightful it is - from the day-in, day-out drudgery of loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, cleaning up pet accidents, checking homework to the sweet and silly moments that remind you why you're raising these little hellions or why you married this person. I identified most with Frances - I, too, struggle with being the overly helpful SAHM - but there were aspects of Anne's character that I got. Anne is deeply depressed, and from her POV we find out that she kept the affair going just to feel something, even if it was only a deep self-loathing. While there's a table at the front of the book with a list of characters, I found I didn't really have to refer to it as all of the characters, even the little kids, were well-defined, from sulky teen Ava to anxious Theo to silly Lally. “All these families, all struggling against one thing or another, doing their best, or maybe just pretending to be interested, or maybe actively trying to destroy each other, who knows. All of them united momentarily around f***ing peewee soccer, brought together by the twin desires for healthy children and something to do on a Saturday. Inwardly Frances shrugged, because it doubtless meant something significant and deep, but all she could think was that the whole thing was incredibly tiring and she needed more coffee. Sometimes life is just what it is, and the best you can hope for is ice cream.” Does anything particularly important happen? In the grand scheme of things, no. I mean, the big denouement happens at a birthday party complete with bouncy house! But it's a fascinating exploration of the little things that combine together to form friendships, relationships, families, and neighborhoods, and that we can never truly guess what's going on in other people's houses. Overall, this was a hilariously honest look at suburban life, and I enjoyed every minute. Highly recommended! “'Do you ever feel like running away?' Ava asked her. Frances shook her head. 'Where would I go? Everything I love is here.'”
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Other People’s Houses is an engrossing, entertaining and well-written novel. This book follows four families in a Los Angeles California neighborhood. Their trials, inner struggles, betrayals and most touching moments are depicted well in this story. My favorite couple is Frances and Michael Bloom. Frances was the designated carpool mom. She took the neighborhood kids plus her own three back and forth to school. Frances was the only mom who was overweight and not obsessed with her appearance. She was also the kindest most level-headed person in the group, and her husband, Michael, loved her, extra curves, and all. Frances was the star who held the neighborhood together, when one family on their street, began to crumble. This book is all about marriage, family life, betrayal, consequences, and forgiveness. The writing in this book is witty and spot on. Frances is the main character, and her internal dialogue is absolutely hysterical. Although the story is poignant and the subject matter, serious, the author has a remarkable ability to lighten the mood, with humor. I loved it. Thank you, Berkley Publishing and Edelweiss, for my advanced review copy.
thereadingchick More than 1 year ago
Other People’s Houses looks behind the curtain into all of the relationships in a block of houses in the Larchmount neighborhood of Los Angeles. Frances Bloom, as the volunteer driver of all of the neighbors children, she gets an eyeful into the lives of her next door neighbor that makes everyone take a second look into their own marriage. Although the point of view changes from character to character I mostly identified with Frances, the mother of four, slightly overweight stay at home wife who spends her days making other peoples lives easier. Not to say that I make people’s lives easy, but she was more the “everyman” character in this book, so seeing through her eyes was easier and her point of view was very clear. When she catches one of her neighbors in infidelity she keeps her mouth shut, but her knowing creates a cause and effect that builds into a tsunami that breaks over that neighborhood, changing the lives of not only the adults but all of the children as well. Other People’s Houses needs to stand on it’s own and not be compared to The Garden of Small Beginnings, and I think I did it a disservice at first for being so eager to look for a laugh. I was disappointed when I didn’t get it until further into the book. Abbi Waxman still did an amazing job creating credible, real, emotional characters. I really liked these people so was able to get involved in their stories, but it did take me a little bit to understand that this was not going down the road I had wanted to take and my journey was going to be a lot more emotional. If you enjoy reading books about heartbreaking relationships with an occasional laugh then you will really like this book. If you read The Garden of Small Beginnings, be warned, you are not getting the same uplifting novel with Other People’s Houses, but you will still be enthralled with the story. ❤❤❤❤ I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!