screenshot96 Did you ever listen to Click and Clack, of NPR’s Car Talk? Then Everyone Loves You Back has an immediate hook for you. Author Louie Cronin was a producer for Car Talk. And this is her debut novel.

From the Amazon summary:
Sex. Wine. Jazz. Existential dread.

Meet Bob, a sarcastic radio technician who has enough on his plate trying to navigate his forties without his Cambridge neighborhood becoming overrun by urban treehuggers and uppity intellectuals in tracksuits. Between a love triangle, a rapidly shrinking job market, and the looming threat of finally growing up, Bob is forced to dig deep―man―and figure out not just what he wants, but who he is. Change hits hard when you live in the past.

Louie Cronin’s breakthrough novel is a coming-of-middle-age story that pays homage to the everyday.

I loved  Car Talk, and learning about Cronin’s connection to the show, and that she was writing about radio, is what made me want to read the book.

And so, with a glass of wine beside me and a soundtrack of Yo Yo Ma, Mozart,  Bach, and Dead Can Dance, I sat down the night after Christmas and read the whole thing.  Overall, I really enjoyed it.  The prose is smart, and while I didn’t laugh out loud, I did find myself smiling- sometimes wryly- more than once.

I liked that the characters were full on adults.  Living in a city that is subject to the same types of development as in this story I could certainly identify with that part of the plot.In fact, Cambridge is as much a character as any of the people. I liked seeing some of the behind the scenes of the radio world.

The characters were entertaining, and drawn out enough that you understand their connection to the story.  I actually thought a few of them would be a fun group at a dinner party.  Some of the neighbors would certainly give you good stories to share with friends. There were four “B” names in the story- all men- so you did have to pay a bit of attention to keep all of them straight.

Without giving much context here, no spoiling, I thought that Bob’s complacence rang true. Most of us have had  time in our life where it is easier to stay the course than it is to make a major change; where starting something new can be almost too daunting.  And I completely understood Bob’s indignation when a secret with one character is revealed. No more on that so you won’t get spoiled. I also understood why his neighbors so got to Bob, although I think there are times where he let that work against him.

Riff was a delightful character- he’s at the point where really, he has few f’s left to give, and doesn’t mind letting that be known.

This is a highly recommend for me, and I look forward to more from Louie Cronin.