For Alice and Hanna, saint and sinner, growing up is a trial.
There is their mother, who takes a divide and conquer approach to child-rearing, and their father, who takes an absent one. There is their older brother Michael, whose disapproval is a force to be reckoned with. There is the catastrophe that is never spoken of, but which has shaped everything.
As adults, Alice and Hanna must deal with disappointments in work and in love as well as increasingly complicated family tensions, and lives that look dismayingly dissimilar to what they’d intended.
They must look for a way to repair their own fractured relationship, and they must finally choose their own approach to their dominant mother: submit or burn the house down.
And they must decide at last whether life is really anything more than (as Hanna would have it) a tragedy with a few hilarious moments.
‘acutely and movingly written’
Alice Snape, Cosmopolitan, ‘The new books you need in your life’
‘Brutally funny and whip smart’
Hannah Beckerman, author of The Impossible Truths of Love
‘Rebecca Wait’s highly entertaining fourth novel is a masterclass in familial tensions, told with razor-sharp dialogue, wit and emotional insight.’
‘this sharp, wise comedy explores difficult family dynamics, from all-too-relatable emotional patterns to the inexplicable agonies of mental illness; yet it’s also one of the funniest novels you’ll read this year.’
The Guardian, ‘Summer reading: the 50 hottest new books for a great escape’
‘You’ll struggle to find a better opening sentence in fiction this year. I’m Sorry You Feel That Way (the title alone deserves your respect) made me laugh on public transport, which is rare for anyone, I think…I loved the deadpan one-liners…The dialogue is excellent and captures the way families try to support one another and end up being accidentally horrible instead… But it’s more than just a farce. Things happen, big dramatic things, and there’s love and anguish and good people making terrible mistakes… My favourite novels are the ones that are gentle with their characters, however flawed, and interested in the thing fiction can do that nothing else can, which is to explain other people. Wait is this kind of novelist…It’s a warm book and a touching one. And did I mention it’s funny? Just read it. You’ll see.’
Susie Goldsborough, The Times
‘Its exquisitely detailed examination of interpersonal relationships allows it to become furtively compassionate, generous even to the worst offenders and one of the richest explorations of family dysfunction I’ve read.’
Francesca Steel, i News
‘Shades of Fleabag in this smart, funny drama about the complexities of sibling relationships and how the past defines the present.’
Irish Daily Mail
‘Perceptive, compelling and dryly funny… This is a masterful novel, Wait’s piercing wit and laser-sharp insight showing how easily family dynamics can spiral out of control.’
The Daily Mirror
‘The author skilfully explores family dysfunction from their different viewpoints. From the passive aggressive title to the satisfying ending, this is a smart, sometimes hilarious novel in which blood might prove thicker than water.’
‘Rebecca Wait’s exploration of sisterhood is undemanding, amusing and thought provoking… undemanding, amusing, engaging and thought provoking. Perfect for the holidays!’
‘A whip-smart comedy that will keep you entertained until the last page.’
Health & Wellbeing
‘a funny and moving book that will draw you into its tangled web.’
‘darkly funny, insightful tale about family, friendship and mental illness’
‘This novel made me laugh out loud and also broke my heart; it manages to weave together comedy, childhood trauma, mental illness and deft character observations into a wonderfully readable package. I hoovered it up and then went straight to read Rebecca Wait’s previous novel, The Followers, which I also loved.’
‘If you liked Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss, you’ll love this novel’ Good Housekeeping
‘One of the richest explorations of family dysfunction I’ve read’ the i newspaper
‘Rebecca Wait’s witty tragicomedy is a piercing tale of sibling rivalry and family dysfunction…But threaded through the drama is great warmth and wit. Wait has a talent for bringing a crackle to a scene.’
Culture Whisper, ‘Our Favourite Books of 2022’