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Katina's Pick: Community Board by Tara Conklin


A woman moves back into her parents' empty home after her husband leaves her and spends her days on the town's internet community board in the new novel from the best-selling author of The Last Romantics.


Darcy Clipper thought life was fine.


Then one day her husband abruptly ends their marriage and moves in with his skydiving instructor.


The contented life Darcy knew is gone, and after her boss suggests a sabbatical, not knowing what else to do, she makes her way to her childhood home in Murbridge, a small, quiet, and quaint town in western Massachusetts where the annual mushroom festival is king.


With her life upended, Darcy seeks solace in the familiarity and protectiveness that Murbridge and her parents, respectively, once provided. When she arrives, however, she finds Murbridge a bit changed, but that’s the least of it. Darcy also finds her childhood home empty. Not wanting to upset her, her parents had secretly jetted off to a retirement community in Arizona many months ago. Unbeknownst to Darcy, they’d been enjoying the good life in the sun ever since.

With her life in tatters, and her parents not there to pick up the pieces, Darcy begins her “self-imposed isolation and canned food consumption” – as she describes it.


Holed up in her childhood home, Darcy avoids face-to-face interaction with others, sends terse emails to her parents, drafts emails that she never sends to her estranged husband, eats nothing but canned food left over from her mother’s semi-prepper days, is mistaken for a squatter, and delves deep into the town’s online community board.


“When did people begin to suck,” she wonders.


As time passes, and Darcy’s canned food resources dwindle, she is forced to interact, and it is here that her transformation begins.


In Community Board, author Tara Conklin not only gives us a glimpse into the life of a seemingly broken woman who must rebuild her new normal, but also that of a cast of characters known only anonymously and online at first. As a crisis develops – in this case, a public playground for kids in the works and funded by and located on the private property of two gay dads -- the town must grapple with its identity.


Community Board is at times funny; at times, moving; and at times, everything in between.

It is also a refreshing take on government by the people and for the people and provides a bit of hope that said people just might not be as bad as they seem.


- Katina, Area Librarian

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