You Only Call When You’re In Trouble

Stephen McCauley

Contemporary Fiction

Is it ever okay to stop caring for others and start living for yourself?

After a lifetime of taking care of his impossible but irresistible sister and his cherished niece, Tom is ready to put himself first. An architect specializing in tiny houses, he finally has an opportunity to build his masterpiece—“his last shot at leaving a footprint on the dying planet.” Assuming, that is, he can stick to his resolution to keep the demands of his needy family at bay.

Naturally, that’s when his phone rings. His niece, Cecily—the real love of Tom’s life, as his boyfriend reminded him when moving out—is embroiled in a Title IX investigation at the college where she teaches that threatens her career and relationship. And after decades of lying, his sister wants him to help her tell Cecily the real identity of her father.

Tom does what he’s always done—answers the call. Thus begins a journey that will change everyone’s life and demonstrate the beauty or dysfunction (or both?) of the ties that bind families together and sometimes strangle them.

Warm, funny, and deeply moving, You Only Call When You’re in Trouble is an unforgettable showcase for Stephen McCauley’s distinctive voice and unique ability to create complex characters that jump off the page and straight into your heart.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

“While success is potent, it can’t compete with the hurricane force of failure.”

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) The extended dysfunctional family of Evie follows her through deception and self-discovery as she attempts to set her life on a different path.

Evie is not who she appears to be. She has a secret that is upturning her life and putting stress on her relationships. She balances vulnerability and strength, but is wrought with deception and authenticity. Her internal conflict and the layers of her character make her relatable and human. While exploring her identity, her trust and the consequences of her actions, come into play.

The pacing of the novel is slow, with each chapter building upon the last to create interest. However, it fell short in gaining my attention. Those who love a slow-burn with familial drama will be drawn to this one.

AUDIO REVIEW: Andre Santana had a very even voice and did well for the story.

General content summary: F words= 7, language, previous m/m relationship, marijuana, allegations of f/f sexual misconduct, cult tendencies (molestation, sexual assault, extreme beliefs, misogyny), f/f kiss (previous), intimacy (referenced multiple times), difficult childhood (alcoholic mother?), discussion of possibly having an abortion, stroke (possible pill overdose).

Thank you to Macmillan Audio for the copy!

The book releases January 9, 2024.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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