The Way Things Should Be (Bridie Jabour, Echo)
Claudia has returned to her hometown to get married. She should be happy, but instead she feels confused and sad, and running the gauntlet of her dysfunctional family in the week leading up to the wedding isn’t helping. Her mother is playing the martyr and making the wedding all about herself; Claudia can barely see her father without causing strife between her estranged parents; and being in such close quarters with her three siblings ignites old rivalries and opens old wounds. How is Claudia supposed to figure out if she should marry Dylan if she can’t even navigate her family relationships without stepping on a grenade? Journalist and debut writer Bridie Jabour has created a funny and relatable portrait of a dysfunctional family, capturing each of their inner lives in unique snapshots, and excavating the hidden fault lines that are present in even the closest relationships. It is all too easy to relate to this group of characters and their relationship struggles, career disappointments, girl-crushes and millennial dissatisfaction. The Way Things Should Be will appeal to readers who enjoy slice-of-life fiction, and fans of smart domestic comedies.
Kate McDonell is a primary literacy editor and former bookseller at Dymocks Camberwell