Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything by Kristin Bair
Agatha Arch's life shatters when she discovers her husband in their backyard shed, in flagrante delicto, giving the local dog walker some heavy petting. Suddenly, Agatha finds herself face to face with everything that frightens her...and that's a loooooong list.
Agatha keeps those she loves close. Everyone else, she keeps as far away as possible. So she's a mystery to nearly everyone in her New England town. To her husband, she's a saucy, no-B.S. writer. To her Facebook Moms group, she's a provocateur. To her neighbor, she's a standoffish pain in the butt. To her sons, she's chocolate pudding with marshmallows. And to her shrink, she's a bundle of nerves on the brink of a cataclysmic implosion.
Defying her abundant assortment of anxieties, Agatha dons her spy pants--a pair of khakis whose many pockets she crams with binoculars, fishing line, scissors, flashlight, a Leatherman Super Tool 300 EOD, candy, and other espionage essentials--and sets out to spy on her husband and the dog walker. Along the way, she finds another intriguing target to follow: a mysterious young woman who's panhandling on the busiest street in town.
It's all a bit much for timorous Agatha. But with the help of her Bear Grylls bobblehead, a trio of goats, and a dog named Balderdash, Agatha may just find the courage to build a better life.
Agatha Arch is written in part in an almost stream-of-consciousness style mixed in with more usual narrative. It makes for an odd, interesting and sometimes disturbing read.
It took me a long time to understand Agatha and an even longer time to like her. In all honesty, I'm not sure I've actually achieved either things which was a disappointment considering I normally really like quirky characters.
I think what gave me the most trouble was her lists. Being inside Agatha's head wasn't a comfortable place to be - and at times I found myself praying that my thoughts wouldn't be as fractured were someone to listen in on them.
Despite all the above, I did enjoy the book, and I've also discovered that it has stickability - bits of it keep popping into my head when I'm least expecting it, and now that I've come to the end, I'm actually quite missing it...
This post contains affiliate links