Maum, Courtney. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
Booklist Reviews 2014 May #2
Richard, a British artist living in Paris, betrays his avant-garde ideals with a mainstream gallery show of sentimental oil paintings, which are a hit with consumers. He also sells out his marriage by having a "seven year itch" love affair. Maum's debut novel charts the aftermath of these two troubling events, with Richard trying to recover his meaningful relationships with both his true art and his French wife. A painting of their daughter's toy bear is central to the story, and its journey serves as a mirror to that of the couple's. With Paris and the looming Iraq war as its backdrop, Maum's tale deftly captures a thirtysomething's sense of grief for the lost passion of youth and the search for something of depth to take its place. Writing with an authentic and affecting vulnerability, Maum considers sentimentality from every possible angle—interpersonal relationships, lofty idealism, and art—and each receives an equally unflinching examination. An unapologetically thoughtful novel told without melodrama and with a lot of heart. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2014 May #2
After landing his first Parisian show, British artist Richard Haddon should be celebrating with his beautiful wife, Anne, and their seven-year-old daughter, Camille. Instead, he's feeling like a sellout. Anne has just discovered that Richard had been having an affair and is insisting he end it. Worse—the seven-month fling is already over, because Richard's lover dumped him. Then Richard agrees to sell The Blue Bear, a painting he created for Anne at the beginning of their marriage. Belatedly, he realizes how much the art, and the woman he created it for, mean to him. Richard sets plans in motion to get the painting back and regain the respect of his wife. There are a few comic scenes (the gay couple who purchase The Blue Bear are vegan, kombucha-swilling "pagan continuists"), but overall the novel comes across as a fairly realistic portrayal of a modern marriage that has lost its way. VERDICT Debut author Maum carefully paints Richard and Anne's relationship, from its heady start, to Richard's infidelity, to his shaky attempts to repair the damage he has done. A solid, well-written character-driven contemporary novel.—Christine Perkins, Whatcom County Lib. Syst., Bellingham, WA[Page 73]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2014 April #1
In Maum's debut, it's 2002, and as English artist Richard Haddon's reputation swells following his first solo exhibition in his adopted home of Paris, his marriage slowly crumbles. His wife, Anne, learns of his infidelity with his American mistress, Lisa; meanwhile, Lisa continues to send him unsolicited letters. Richard travels to London to deliver one of his paintings—The Blue Bear, a sentimental piece created while Anne was pregnant with their only child—but fears that the buyer might be Lisa. What follows is an honest, staggeringly realized journey: Richard and Anne struggle to define their marriage, while he attempts to capitalize on his newfound artistic success, proposing an installation piece critiquing the conflict in Iraq. Equally funny and touching, the novel strikes deep, presenting a sincere exploration of love and monogamy. These characters are complex, and their story reflects their confusion and desire. As her story bounces through time and across continents (Richard and Anne met while students in the U.S.), Maum rarely loses focus. An impressive, smart novel. (June)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC