A small Minnesota town. A mother of four young boys who runs an in-home daycare, who is plagued by guilt. Her best friend, who has been trying, unsuccessfully, to have a baby for years and years. Everything starts when Margret, the friend, cancels on Cassie. They were supposed to attend the annual Collectors’ Convention, like they do every year. Cassie goes alone, and is smitten by a snowglobe containing three dogs and a girl with hair the same red as her own.
Stray Affections deals with unfulfilled dreams, infertility, attempting to bridge that gap with friendship, broken relationships, healing.
I accepted this book because of the Midwestern setting and the dogs. (I’ve been kind of on the lookout for the right dog, at the right time, for almost a year now.) It hit kind of close to home.
It’s amusing but heart-warming at the same time, light but addressing deep issues.
Just as there were several characteristics that drew me to the book, there are several aspects of the book’s characters that didn’t strike a chord with me. Cassie is convinced she’s stupid. Pollack jokes and all that. (Did I forget to mention that Stray Affections is set in a Polish town?) Her love of collectibles — not to mention the use of the word critters — is pretty foreign to me, too. These things didn’t make the characters seem less real, although they did make it harder for me personally to relate to them.
Whether it was because of where this book found me, my weaknesses for the Midwest and the love of a dog, or neither of these, I found this a charming, fun, sweet read.
I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more by Baumbich; I’m particularly interested in reading the first in the Dearest Dorothy series.
Watch the author read from the book:
Are you a pushover for certain themes or characteristics in a book? What factors can make you pick up a book?
This That and the Other Thing
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