Gold medal, 2012 Readers Favorite book awards (Chick Lit)
Gold medal, 2013 Reader Views Literary Awards (Humor)
Mace Evans is single at thirty-eight. When her much unloved older sister, Shannon, declares that Mace is anti-social, she embarks on a journey to understand her condition; whether she was born that way or if it is the accumulation of thirty-eight years of unfortunate encounters with other humans and dogs.
For reasons unbeknown to Mace, she has an affair with a work colleague, which brings an unexpected end to her perfect marriage. And as if the self-imposed torture and regret is not enough, Mace endures ongoing judgment from her older sister and mother, which further exacerbates already tenuous relationships.
With support from her four best friends, merlot and pizza, and with guidance from her life coach and mentor, Oscar Wilde, Mace recovers to a degree, but in her quest to understand her anti-social ways, she finds herself wondering about the quality of the fabric that keeps her network of friends intact.
When Mace's mother is diagnosed with cancer, Mace searches for common ground on which to connect before it is too late.
I highly recommend reading this novel, and would especially recommend it to women’s reader’s groups and women in general who are approaching their middle ages. They will find that they are not alone.
Paige Lovitt, Reader Views
This book is an excellent read. It is hilariously funny from beginning to end and is easy to enjoy. It's a great book for relaxing after a stressful day.
Joana James, Readers Favorite
In her dealings with her family, friends, and co-workers, Mace Evans reveals an intense dislike of pretense as well as an ability to openly mock those who are guilty of it.
Mace is also delightfully sarcastic in the manner of Oscar Wilde, her "mentor and life coach," a number of whose bons mots she quotes at appropriate moments in her story. Consider this: "I might become a crazed old spinster who wears quilted dresses and odd socks, and drinks merlot yoghurt smoothies while terrifying neighborhood children--it would not be all bad."
Ron Fritsch, award-winning author of The Promised Valley series.
This is a wonderfully charming novel set in Melbourne (Australia) and featuring a rather interesting character, Mace Evans, who chooses a solitary life and resents the many well-intentioned interferences of her friends and the over-bearing judgment of her mother and sister, Shannon.
There are however some serious themes in the book as Mace deals with her marriage break-down and losing the love of her life, her mother's brush with breast cancer, and the many trials that affect her family and friends (I won't mention them here). If you've read Cunningham's previous novel, RAIN, you'll see a pattern or perhaps an obsession with death, loss and grief. In this book though, it takes on a secondary role to the hilarious misadventures of Mace Evans and her entourage.
At times laugh-out-loud funny (my husband can attest to this; he could not figure out what was going on) to painfully sad, Cunningham does an excellent job at making the reader completely empathize with the main character. It was well worth reading, and well worth keeping for a read again later. I also became a fan of the great sage, Oscar Wilde. Great job, Leigh!
One word - hilarious! Being Anti-Social is a far cry from Cunningham's previous novel, RAIN, which was decidedly darker and aimed more for lovers of sad, emotional stories that can and will bring you to tears. Being Anti-Social on the other hand is a lighter read and a bit of a throw-back to Bridget Jones' Diary, except for an older protagonist (Mace Evans is late thirties) and it is set in Australia rather than England. You'll find the same dry humor that was a highlight of BJD, and a protagonist who seems to end up in all sorts of hilarious predicaments and relationships.
Mace Evans is a lovable character who ironically goes out of her way not to win friends or even keep the ones she's got. Her warped perceptions of herself and the world are thoroughly entertaining. There's a love-hate relationship with her mother and older sister, Shannon, which we only get from Mace's point of view, and given her propensity to exaggerate, it's hard to know if she's trustworthy, but we dislike Shannon all the same.
Mace Evans says, “my life is a river coursing its way through the landscape. At times, it slows to a mere trickle and other times it breaks its banks and floods green pastures.” Mace is a unique character, and wants to be accepted for who she is not who others want her to be. She is definitely someone you want in your corner as a friend.
Vividly described in detail, situations that will make you laugh and cry this novel asks the question: Just what does being anti-social mean and is it okay to be that way?
In addition to great characters this book was well-written. The story was well-thought out and very well executed. Being able to draw so many characters into a book and be able to keep them from all being one-dimensional characters is a great feat. Plus the story was emotionally catching: there is humor, sadness, love, spite, caring, indifference. It was so compelling that I couldn’t bring myself to put it down. I read it in two sittings. I have to say this was a great book.