What would you do if your ex-con father suddenly came to visit…indefinitely? Family drama ensues when Nicki’s dad unexpectedly wants to move in with her, her son, and her boyfriend in this comedic novel from successful TV writer Tracy McMillan.
Nicki Daniels owns a home appraisal business, but real estate is her true passion: she lives for open houses and really knows her way around a floor plan. And especially at this juncture of her life, real estate has come to signify the stability she is trying to build with her teenage son, Cody, and her much younger boyfriend, Jake. She’s finally ready to find the perfect house for the three of them and work on a new business venture with Jake that she thinks will jump-start their lives together.
Meanwhile, Ronnie, a longtime inmate at a nearby correctional facility, is getting some good news for once—there was a mistake in his sentencing, and he’s eligible to get out of prison. Ronnie decides his best option to avoid homelessness is to move in with his estranged daughter: Nicki. Even though they haven’t spoken in years, her door is always open to him, right?
I’ve never heard of Tracy McMillan, but the name of this book – Multiple Listings – had me as soon as I saw it. I’m a real estate processor by day so even though I try to leave my business at work, anything real estate seems to catch my eye. This book is a perfect example of that problem since I didn’t know the author and didn’t know what kind of book to expect. When I started reading Multiple Listings, I was glad to see it fell under the “chick lit” category, making it what I consider to be an easy read.
The story of Multiple Listings deals with protagonist, Nicki Daniels who is a workaholic running a the home appraisal business in Portland, Oregon. Nicki is a thirty-something mother with a 16 year old son, Cody, but thanks to her lousy choices in men, Nicki is also single. And speaking of bad choices, Nicki is currently dating a younger guy, Jake, and even Nicki knows that it won’t be long until it’s over with Jake.
We see Jake do what those kind of men do – he takes Nicki for ride by skipping out on the home they are planning to buy together and the restaurant they are planning to open together. In case that isn’t enough, Cody is in danger of failing out of high school. Then, to ice the cake known as NIcki’s life, her father, Ronnie, shows up at Nickis’ door. Nicki hasn’t seen her father in 17 years since he has been in and out of prison most of her life.
While Multiple Listings does have the real estate angle, is isn’t the whole plot of this book. While I saw the story about her father in the book description, it seemed to take quite a while for us to learn about Nicki’s dad. Probably after the first third of the book told readers about Nicki, her son, Cody, and her poor taste in men, the story finally begins to pick up once her father shows up. Ronnie’s primary goal is to establish a good relationship with his daughter and grandson. In chapters that alternate between Nicki’s voice and Ronnie’s, a compelling plot unfolds while keeping readers entertained with each person’s perspective.
First of all I will say this: I believe that women are very capable of raising their sons to be fine men – with or without a partner. I have seen many young boys without dads in the picture turn out to be outstanding men in this world. That being said, I love how Ronnie helps guide Cody out of his teenage “angst” and really brings out his personality. He steps into fill the shoes of the missing father in Cody’s life.
Multiple Listings shares a story of healing, of second chances. making changes and of self-discovery. Situations arise in the book which cause Nicki to draw on an inner strength she did not know she had and she learns how to deal with issues and relationships as the story progresses. I won’t lie – the story is a bit predictable but the characters are genuinely flawed and real. You’ll breeze through it and enjoy the plot and the characters at the same time. This book is a great book for a day at the beach, or, if you are up north, a nice snowy day.
Tracy McMillan is from Minneapolis. According to her website, “I had a really dramatic childhood involving foster care, prison visits and multiple moms that gave me lots of opportunity to interface with some of the darker aspects of human nature. People ask me how I survived and I think it comes down to 1) Finding pretty much everything funny. And 2) Being willing to get a paper route. In winter. In Minnesota.”
Tracy the author of the memoir I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway, as well as Why You’re Not Married…Yet, based upon an essay she wrote for the Huffington Post that went viral. She has appeared as a relationship coach on the NBC reality show Ready for Love and on talk shows, including the Today show and Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. In addition to her books, Tracy has written for the Emmy Award–winning AMC series Mad Men, as well as Showtime’s United States Of Tara.