‘Start Without Me’ Illustrates Why Some of Us Avoid Going Home at All Costs [REVIEW]

North Amherst, Massachusetts

In Start Without Me, Joshua Max Feldman proves that sometimes going back to your childhood home isn’t as joyous as it could be. (Photo by Doug Kerr, Flickr)

Home for the holidays. The very thought of it conjures up idealized Hollywood scenarious where everything is perfect, blanketed in clean white snow, with the family gathered around the table sharing fond, sweet memories of yesteryear. But in Joshua Max Feldman’s new novel, Start Without Me, he depicts another type of homecoming altogether. In fact, this story is as far from a Frank Capra movie as you can get. 

Joshua Max Feldman's START WITHOUT ME - Credit William Morrow

William Morrow

Meet Adam Warshaw, former musician and recovering alcoholic, but not necessarily in that order. It’s been ages since he came home for Thanksgiving, partly because he just doesn’t have the energy to face his family. For even though they would claim that they were proud of him for his career as a rock and roll keyboardist, Adam knows that they have all seen him totally blotto, and that knowledge makes him feel like a failure who will never measure up to his family’s New England perfection.

Enter Marissa, a flight attendant whose marriage is on the rocks. There are so many things tugging at her relationship, she feels as though she could be ripped assunder at any moment. Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s knocked up from a one-night stand and heading to the in-laws for the holiday, and she just doesn’t need their distinct brand of scrutiny at this point in her life.

When the two meet on Thanksgiving morning at an airport restaurant, they recognize something inside of each other that draws them toward one another in a way that neither of them has experienced before. They share the same fears, the same angst, trying to be people they aren’t in a world that demands conformity, at least in their minds. Together, they forge a bond that may only last a day, but which will change them both and the way they see the world as they struggle to find their place within it.

Start Without Me is one of those deep, insightful, truth-seeking novels that makes readers painfully aware of their internal struggles when it comes to acceptance and defining what “normal” really is. Feldman’s characters are deeply flawed, and yet resonate with us because we can easily recognize their own strife as our own, and readers will feel compelled to cheer them on, hoping against hope that they will find contentment within themselves and some semblance of happiness by day’s end. Packed with both humor and heartbreak, this book reminds us all that sometimes it is okay to fail, that on some level we are all battling the same doubts and demons, and that sometimes… okay, frequently… we make family gatherings much more difficult than they need to be.


Joshua Max Feldman

Joshua Max Feldman
(Photo by Juliana Sohn)

Joshua Max Feldman is the author of The Book of JonahBorn and raised in Amherst, Massachusetts, he has lived in England, Russia, and Switzerland, and currently resides in Brooklyn.

Visit Joshua at his home on the Web at JoshuaMaxFeldman.com, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

By Joshua Max Feldman
288 pgs. William Morrow. $26.99.

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase Start Without Me at one of these fine online retailers: HarperCollins, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Start Without Me is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

Start Without Me Giveaway

Want to win a copy of Start Without Me for your personal library? Simply complete the form below and click submit to enter. Giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. Contest ends November 16, 2017.

About J.R. Wallace
J.R. Wallace is a freelance writer and blogger who enjoys cooking, reading, travel and fitness. He lives in Ohio with his family, two cats and a ferret named Igor.

3 Responses to ‘Start Without Me’ Illustrates Why Some of Us Avoid Going Home at All Costs [REVIEW]

  1. trish says:

    It’s books like these that are the reason I read, because they speak such universal truths.

    Thank you for being on this tour!

  2. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    When a recovering alcoholic and a pregnant flight attendant meet in an airport restaurant on Thanksgiving Day, they share much more than turkey in Joshua Max Feldman’s Start Without Me.

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