The Fallback Plan - Leigh Stein

Released January 2012

Leigh Stein
Melville House

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Graduating college should be the first step to a prosperous life, but Esther isn't finding that a degree is worth much. Six months pass without finding a job forcing her to live with her parents. Even Starbucks and Petco have nothing for her. Desperate, Esther agrees to babysit for friends of the family. Amy and Nate recently lost a child and their older daughter needs a nanny so that Amy can focus on her art work. It pays $9 an hour, which is better than nothing Esther figures.

On another front, Esther's in love with her best friend, though he's in a steady relationship. The more she works for Amy and Nate, the more she finds herself drawn to him.She's also convinced that her anxiety and borderline depression are the result of a brain tumor. Not sure what she really wants from life or what's wrong with her, Esther must face her fears, her demons and life in general.

I think your passion for The Fallback Plan is dependent on how well you can relate to Esther. Personally, I couldn't relate to her. I never had to move back in with my parents. I also never turned to drugs or alcohol to reduce stress. Her world is extremely delicate and, in my opinion, she's a little too fragile. Her parents needed to get her serious help, or to at least see that the help she's had wasn't working.

Leigh Stein definitely captures Esther's wry outlook on life, but I found it rather depressing. Despite this, I know people who would find a hero in Esther and really enjoy the book. Given that, I'd say that The Fallback Plan is worthwhile, if you don't mind a character who really must embrace the fantasy before she can move on in reality.


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