Community Board by Tara Conklin probably won’t win lots of serious literary awards for this year, but it is a fun, light contemporary fiction read – a good beach book or rainy day ‘cheer-you-up’ book. The novel has no quotation marks, which was unusual, and was not really divided up into chapters. (Instead, the divisions are by season.) It starts out pretty slowly, but as the seasons changed, I got more involved in the plot and couldn’t wait to see how it ended.
Darcy Clipper is the main character – a 29 year old actuarial analyst whose husband has just dumped her for another woman. Darcy falls into depression and has anxiety issues and finally escapes to Murbridge, Massachusetts, her childhood home. She struggles to relate to anyone and is angry at the world. At first, Darcy’s only connection to others is through emails with her parents and reading the town’s Community Board online. There is lots of humor in many of the posts and Darcy eventually ventures out to try and find her way to a new chapter in her life.
Community Board began in the season of Winter, and I wasn’t sure that I liked Darcy or her inability to deal with life. By Spring, I liked Darcy more and enjoyed learning more about her quirky community. When Summer arrived, I was cheering for Darcy to take control of her choices and to be brave! And in Autumn, I was satisfied with the outcome of Darcy’s year, even though the book ended rather suddenly. I smiled at many of the incidents and “Community Board” comments throughout the novel. This novel wasn’t earth shatteringly great, but it was an enjoyable read!