What starts as a normal Thursday quickly transforms into, well, not a normal Thursday. Something’s in the air — and maybe also inside that pill Clover Hendry took — and today, she’s going to do all those things she never allowed herself to do. Starting with taking the day off.
“Clover Hendry’s Day Off” by Beth Morrey is a Ferris Bueller-inspired 24-hour adventure in which one 40-something pushover of a working mom says to heck with it and lives life for herself for a change.
Clover’s newfound superpower — being able to say “No” and disallowing others to bulldoze right over her — is infectiously freeing.
But, much as we might want, it can’t all be confrontation and giggles as this newly carefree woman jaunts around London. After all, if Clover becomes a self-centered tyrant, isn’t she just as bad as her boss who holds time-wasting meetings to hear his own voice, and the huffy businessmen who commandeer cabs that other people hailed, and ill-behaved children who run screaming through museums — the very people who would normally ruin her day?
Still, Clover is a fabulous character and I was absolutely hooked by Chapter 3.
Copiously clad with humor and astute observations, each turn is like a tiny gift you get to unwrap. Every triumph is an indulgence to savor and every unfavorable outcome a bitter but welcome vibe-check. Though part of me wanted this book to go on indefinitely, there’s an undeniable appeal and beauty to the story being only one day.
But before you settle in for 300 pages of fun and hijinks, be warned that Morrey has slipped in pockets of seriousness, including a panic-attack-inducing, late-stage surprise that artfully avoids trauma porn while surfacing unresolved psychological wounds.
“Clover Hendry’s Day Off” is one of the most fun books I’ve read in a while — or ever, honestly. Morrey’s novel has everything: drugs, priceless art, mommy issues, yappy dogs, sweet revenge, imaginary alpacas, laughs, tears, post-lockdown malaise, and, of course, a bunny.
Are any of those things actually important to the plot? You’ll have to read to find out, and it will be worth it.
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