One of the things I’ve been reading lately is something I thing publishers should market as dramedys. It has less baggage than the term “chick lit,” and since the term has been around in the tv realm for awhile, why not use it in publishing too? Multiple Listings by Tracy McMillan is a dramedy written by someone who was a television writer on Mad Men and The United States of Tara, which made me think this would be my kind of book.
McMillan’s background in screenwriting meant I was expecting good characters and drama, and overall I wasn’t disappointed. Multiple Listings is the story of Nicki, a single mother who runs a successful home appraisal business who is at a relationship crossroads and then hits a family crossroads as her long-estranged father returns to her life. McMillan gets the characters and the emotional beats of a distant family down. Frankly, the only character I felt was lacking fits the category I find in lots of books: the nearly-perfect love interest who does no wrong sometimes feels like an afterthought of a character.
Overall, though, the characters felt like they were in a kind of indie movie that I like. Some troubles/ troubled people all together. The one thing I didn’t like was when the self-help focus got a little too tell-y for me, but there was enough to balance out those sections that impressed me.
This book reminded me thematically of Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which tried to do more with structure (interlocking stories with characters in the same orbit) than this particular book did. I’m 24not sure why one book is marketed as more literary while this one is deemed more relationship-y, but why not just lump into the non-gendered term of dramedy? That’s my proposal.
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.