"Engrossing, hilarious, and tender... I couldn't put it down." ---Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project
A hilarious and moving chronicle of a wildly flawed family that comes together--in rehab, of all places--even as each member is on the verge of falling apart
Introducing the Kesslers: Marty, a retired LA film producer whose self-worth has been eroded by age and a late-in-life passion for opioids; his daughter Janine, former child star suffering the aftereffects of a life in the public eye; and granddaughter Hailey, the "less-than" twin sister, whose inferiority complex takes a most unexpected turn. Nearly six thousand miles away, in London, celebrated author Bunny Small, Marty's long-forgotten first wife, has her own problems: a "preposterous" case of writer's block, a monstrous drinking habit, and a son who has fled halfway around the world to escape her.
When Marty's pill-popping gets out of hand and Bunny's boozing reaches crisis proportions, a perfect storm of dysfunction brings them all together at Directions, Malibu's most exclusive and absurd rehab center.
But for all their failings, the members of this estranged--and strange--family love each other. Rich with warmth, humor, and deep insight, There's a Word for That is a comic ode to surviving the people closest to us, navigating the perils of success, and taking one last look in the rearview mirror before mapping out the road ahead.
About the Author
Sloane Tanen is the author of nine illustrated and YA books, including the bestseller Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Time of Some Chickens and Hatched: The Big Push from Pregnancy to Motherhood. This is her first adult novel. Tanen graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and holds Masters degrees from both NYU and Columbia University. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, the writer Gary Taubes, and their two sons.
"Engrossing, hilarious, and tender, this novel tells the story of how a family breaks apart and comes together despite years of mistakes and mishaps. I couldn't put it down."—Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project
"This high-stakes, hilarious novel is many things at once: a tongue-in-cheek tale of warning, a celebration of privacy in our all-access world, and a heart-warming story about two families in search of salvation. Most poignantly, There's a Word for That shows us how, with time, even the most intractable relationships can soften and surprise us. Sloane Tanen has a sharp eye for irony and wields an even sharper pen. I laughed loudly, and often."—Lucy Tan, author of What We Were Promised
"A big juicy beach read full of family dysfunction and Southern California sunshine, There's a Word for That joyously knits together the most frayed characters into a story you won't want to put down, even after the last page. Sloane Tanen is a witty, wonderful writer who really knows how to twist a plot as she redefines what it means to have a happy ending."—Amy Scheibe, author of A Fireproof Home for the Bride
"I haven't read a book as quickly (one 22-hour plane ride) and compulsively in a long time. There's a Word for That is that rare mix of funny and gutting, a page-turner coupled with deep emotional resonance. The characters are so richly drawn and their journeys so absorbing that by the end of the book, it felt a real loss to let them go. A funny, moving, gem of a novel."—Melanie Abrams, author of Playing
"This is the novel for anyone who has ever had family. Oh, wait. That means everyone. Yes, it does. Sloane Tanen deliciously skewers us all while she romps through the connections we make and trample in our attempt to stay related to one another. Hilarious, wondrous, and fun, this is the book for right now."—Marion Roach Smith, author of The Memoir Project
"Hilarious and touching!"—New York Magazine
"Though Tanen's delightful sense of humor infuses the plot and dialogue with sparkle, the characters and their predicaments are not played for laughs, or not only for laughs -- along with the farcical situations come moments of real emotion and insight...As the characters weather tough times and deal with hurts old and new, love and humor light the way. Full of intelligence and charm."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"There's a Word for That is often uproariously funny. Tanen's skill is that you don't laugh at the characters. Janine and Marty and Hailey and Henry and even Bunny know how messed up they are. All you, and they, can do is laugh at the straits they find themselves in and soldier on."—Arlene McKanic, BookPage
"Readers who miss The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg (2012) and the Lamberts from Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections (2001) will welcome the Kesslers. With equal parts humor and empathy, Tanen's first novel for adults employs multiple narrators and a skillfully drawn cross-generational family to examine how relatives impact one another."—Booklist
"Tanen's memorable wry humor and sharp dialogue will leave readers fully invested in the rebuilding of relationships despite years of distance, trauma and pain. Tanen's refreshing tale of a nontraditional family legacy will appeal to fans of tightly plotted dramas in the vein of Maggie Shipstead's work."—Publishers Weekly