Did you guys know Judith Viorst wrote grown-up books? I grew up loving Alexander and the No-Good, Horrible, Very Bad Day (too lazy to look that up and see if I got all the adjectives), so when I saw Murdering Mr. Monti on the shelf at a used bookstore, I had to investigate.
Brenda Kovner is the worst kind of meddler. She’s an advice columnist convinced she knows everything, and she terrorizes her friends, family, and neighbors. With one son engaged to a wimp with a horrible father, another deep in financial ruin, and a husband possibly re-igniting an old affair, she has her hands full trying to straighten out everyone’s lives (whether they like it or not). The book is told from Brenda’s point of view, and it’s funny and sad that she has no idea how horrible she is, and how actively she’s pushing her loved ones away. She gives her readers and her family advice, and then turns around and does the exact opposite, with convoluted rationalizations for why it’s okay when SHE does it. This leads to an interesting swath of adultery and several botched murder plots – all for the good of her family, of course.
It’s a light and fast read, even with so frustrating a protagonist (she is always convinced she’s right, no matter what she’s doing and how much it’s hurting those around her). I’m not sure I’ll seek out more of hers, but I’m glad to know there’s more out there.