Review of Community Board by Tara Conklin @TEConklin @MarinerBooks

If you’re looking for a read that is smart, entertaining, off-the-wall quirky, and a pleasure, Community Board by Tara Conklin might just fit your needs.

Blurb: Where does one go, you might ask, when the world falls apart? When the immutable facts of your life—the mundane, the trivial, the take-for-granted minutiae that once filled every second of every day—suddenly disappear? Where does one go in such dire and unexpected circumstances?

I went home, of course.


FREE: 500 cans of corn. Accidentally ordered them online. I really hate corn. Happy to help load.

REMINDER: use your own goddamn garbage can for your own goddamn pet waste. I’m looking at you Peter Luflin.

REMINDER: monthly Select Board meeting this Friday. Agenda items: 1) sludge removal; 2) upkeep of chime tower; 3) ice rink monitor thank you gift. Questions? Contact Hildegard Hyman,

Darcy Clipper, prodigal daughter, nearly thirty, has returned home to Murbridge, Massachusetts, after her life takes an unwelcome left turn. Murbridge, Darcy is convinced, will welcome her home and provide a safe space in which she can nurse her wounds and harbor grudges, both real and imagined.

But Murbridge, like so much else Darcy thought to be fixed and immutable, has changed. And while Darcy’s first instinct might be to hole herself up in her childhood bedroom, subsisting on Chef Boy-R-Dee and canned chickpeas, it is human nature to do two things: seek out meaningful human connection and respond to anonymous internet postings. As Murbridge begins to take shape around Darcy, both online and in person, Darcy will consider the most fundamental of American questions: What can she ask of her community? And what does she owe it in return?

Purchase Links:
Amazon | Shop your local indie bookstore

I am probably (read: undoubtedly) an unconventional book blogger (in many respects). Like a good book blogger, I create a calendar of my upcoming reads along with the organization providing the ARC. And then I read–mostly–by chronological publishing date without regard to genre, author, etc., unless I’m really down and need a book-pill pick-me-up. There are times when I begin reading and don’t know what I am reading. Sometimes I’ll check the blurb, but other times, as was the case of Community Board by Tara Conklin, I will continue reading because it is so good that I just don’t care what it’s about. Which is kind of strange as I write it, but if you love books and stories and exciting voices, you probably won’t find it strange at all.

Community Board begins with Darcy Clipper, an actuarial analyst, being dumped by her husband Skip for skydiving instructor Bianca. Darcy, who is a mess because she was totally blind-sided, is given a seeming sabbatical from her job and returns to the loving home of her parents. Who are not there. The house is empty and she discovers that they are in Arizona and considering making it permanent. For weeks, Darcy lives on canned foods, chick peas straight from the can and Chef-Boy-R-Dee while reading the messages on the Community Board. Step-by-step, Darcy emerges from the doldrums, still battling anxiety, but discovering unexpected joys in a town she thought she knew.

This book is a delight. If I hadn’t been so hungry for such a delicious read, I might not have been so greedy, devouring it so quickly. (Too much food metaphor?) 😉

One element I very much appreciated was Conklin’s sense-of-humor–and sarcasm–that elevated Community Board from the typical literary/women’s fiction that frequently takes itself too seriously (albeit with good reason? I don’t know. We’ll think about that). Darcy is self-deprecating and kind and eccentric and loveable, although at the beginning I wondered exactly what kind of almost 30-year-old would pout and not speak to her parents. But if you start reading Community Board, don’t take that to heart. Take Darcy to heart.

While there is whimsy and magic and good heartedness in this novel, there are also blips of information. Pablo Nerudo. Marco Polo. What makes a democracy work–which should never be a divisive topic. And there’s a little interaction with a magic mushroom upon which the town of Murbridge was founded. Fascinating stuff.

So. I loved Community Board. I loved picking it up again and again and getting involved with Darcy and the folks of Murbridge. I loved the information, the moments of pause. And, I loved the fact that it made me so happy. A genuinely enjoyable read.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

All of the Butterflies!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.