Old Buildings in North Texas by Jen Waldo
Sub-genre: Literary Fiction / Dramedy
Publisher: Arcadia Books
Date of Publication: April 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 213
After rehab, Olivia, a 32-year-old cocaine addict, is required to move back in with her mother and pregnant sister. Having left a promising career in journalism in New York, she’s now working as a sales assistant for a family friend in her home town in North Texas.
Under pressure from her court-mandated counselor – an old high school friend - to take up a hobby, Olivia decides on "urbexing." Soon she’s breaking into derelict homes, ex-prisons, and old drive-ins across North Texas, and it’s not long before she’s looting state property and making money off the possessions, fixtures, and fittings that have been left behind.
Old Buildings in North Texas is about a modern woman’s search for personal equilibrium and wild adventure -- the attempt to find stability in existence without losing sight of what makes life worth living. Jen Waldo’s style modulates effortlessly from domestic nuance to taut adventure, tackling social and moral transgressions with incisive observation and vivid humor.
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Jen Waldo lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period and has now settled, along with her husband, in Marble Falls, Texas. She first started writing over twenty years ago when, while living in Cairo, she had difficulty locating reading material and realized she’d have to make her own fun. She has since earned an MFA and written a number of novels. Her work has been published in The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler magazine. Old Buildings in North Texas and Why Stuff Matters have been published in the UK by Arcadia Books. Jen’s fiction is set in Northwest Texas and she’s grateful to her hometown of Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind.
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The predicaments that arise throughout Old Buildings in North Texas are beyond entertaining. The urban exploration element was exhilarating and fun to live through vicariously mixed with the small town drama. I enjoy reading books based in small towns but could not imagine ever actually living with everyone in each other's business..
I enjoyed the different dimensions Old Buildings in North Texas had to offer. As much as I loved the drama, I also loved when Olivia would enter a building for the first time, how she would paint a picture of life when it last existed there and fill you in on the wonder with all her background research. I thought her literal take-aways from each location were hilarious at times and added a fun reminder, that one man's trash is another woman's treasure.
Old Buildings in North Texas left me ready for more. I'm excited to follow along on this tour to get a glimpse inside the sequel spotlight and I can't wait to add the next in line to my TBR pile. Great read!
“The stripped-down truth is, I'm a broken-down truck in a country driveway."
"Before they'd let me out of rehab someone had to agree to act as my legal custodian. There it is, the snappy truth about why, at the age of thirty-two, I live with my mother."
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October 2-11, 2018
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