This Has Been Absolutely Lovely by Jessica Dettmann. (2021).
**4 out of 5 stars**
Molly’s a millennial home organiser about to have her first baby. Obviously her mum, Annie, will help with the childcare – everyone else’s parents are doing it. But Annie’s dreams of music stardom have been on hold for 35 years, paused by childbirth then buried under her responsibilities as a mother, wage earner, wife and only child of ailing parents. Finally, she can taste freedom. As Molly and her siblings gather in the close quarters of the family home over one fraught summer, shocking revelations come to light. Everyone is forced to confront the question of what it means to be family.
After really enjoying the author’s previous novel, and seeing loads of positive reviews for this one, I was looking forward to reading this novel. It did indeed live up to the hype and was both enjoyable and entertaining. Yes, I found most of the characters slightly annoying and selfish at times; this just added to the charm and realism of the story. The storyline takes a look at family and what that actually means: how much do you do for your family members, what secrets should and shouldn’t be kept, what support can and should you provide to your relatives and so on. There were a few funny moments but overall this family was pure dysfunction and I think it made them all feel relatable in one way or another.
Overall: I would happily recommend this Australian domestic drama which makes for an easy and entertaining read.