Book Review: Courtney Maum’s I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

Posted August 23, 2014 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Courtney Maum’s I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

in Hardcover edition on June 10, 2014 and has 336 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon., Barnes & NobleKobo.

An exploration of life, love, and marriage between an artist and a lawyer in Paris.

This story begins in late September 2002 a few weeks after 9/11 and continues through the first invasion of Iraq when Bush is insisting that Weapons of Mass Destruction are in Iraq and Americans are eating Freedom fries.

My Take

I was reluctant to read this one. The whole cheating on one’s significant other is anathema to me, however, the artist in me who loves Paris couldn’t resist it for that side of the storyline. And it was well worth it.

Yes, I loved listening to Richard as he thinks his way through his motivations and thoughts about his art. How he’s selling out with his keyhole paintings, his thinking behind the WarWash. I like the sound of his keyhole work, but then I’m a representationalist, and I may have an intellectual appreciation for his more avant garde work, but I’d never want it in my house. I found Richard’s whining about Julien’s stance naive, and I do wish art schools would include a required class on the business of selling art from the gallery’s point of view as well as the artist’s.

I would love to know if and when Richard creates art from those videos in which he explores the depth and truth of long-lasting love.

Richard’s thoughts about art are secondary to his exploration of his own mind, why he found his affair so exciting, and why in the end, it was not. Part of the introspection is looking back over how he met Anne, their courtship, their marriages, meeting the parents, and more. It’s a lovely way to provide the back history, especially when combined with Richard’s emotional analysis, which goes deep, examining when his feelings toward his wife changed. Instead of blaming it all on Anne’s “coldness”, he came to understand where he was at fault. The small things he did which caused the changes. I loved that he didn’t push the blame off. It’s always harder to accept that you are the one in the wrong. And it’s the only way to grow.

It was an interesting perspective to read the French reaction to Bush’s statements. It’s too bad our news organizations can’t be bothered with reporting both sides of events. Of course, that would make it more difficult to stir people ’round to your way of thinking.

Some problems I had with this were Richard’s inability to say no. Well, okay, obviously *grin*. It began with his ambivalence about selling The Blue Bear. Just say no, it’s not for sale. So why not tell Julien to put a red dot on it so no one will offer for it?

I do love Lisa’s reasons for having the affair, lol. It’s a stab in the heart for the male ego, as Richard bemoans her reasoning, her attitude. Meanwhile, he’s been manufacturing all these daydreams. Dreams Lisa burst, and that so very slowly, brought Richard back to earth. Only to be confronted with Anne’s indiscretions. Ones he is astonished by. Seems what’s good for the gander is not allowed for the goose, even if they are separated. To be fair, Richard is between a rock and a hard place, and I do feel bad for him. Just, not that bad.

Anne has her own issues at work when a group of pregnant women want to bring a class action suit against wine label makers. Sadly, it seems the French are going the way of the Americans. Must be that EU influence *grin*.

Well worth reading on a number of levels.

The Story

She’s left him! She wasn’t supposed to leave. And in one way she does not. It’s that which catches Richard out with his wife. Because he was not thinking. Because he was an idiot.

On the plus side, it will give Richard a lot of time to think about his marriage, his choices, and what he really wants in his life.

The Characters

Richard Haddon is an artist, not quite struggling monetarily but struggling more in terms of his style. He’s also struggling with his marriage. Anne-Laure, neé de Bourigeaud is his lovely French wife of seven years, a lawyer now with Savda & Dern. Camille is their five-year-old daughter. George, a history teacher, and Edna Haddon, a librarian, are his parents while Alain and Inès are hers. Balfus is the de Bourigeauds’ dog. Esther is a friend of Anne-Laure’s and the reason Richard met Anne at all.

Julien is Richard’s gallerist, the man who is representing Richard’s keyhole paintings and showing them in his gallery in Paris. Azar Sabounjian is Julien’s rival and more interested in performance art; Alice is his assistant.

Thomas is a new transfer to Savda & Dern. Selena and Jacques are more paralegals.

Lisa Bishop is the mistress who is the Paris-based New York Times reporter on culture. Dave is the fiancé, a cutlery designer. Harold Gadfrey is a chance-met passenger on the ferry; Rosalyn is his wife. Tabatha and Rufus Adsit are some Paris friends.

Tony Blair is prime minister in England. Bush is president. Saddam Hussein is still in power in Iraq.

Patrick Madsen is the performance artist who drives home the feeling of being a sell-out. Dave Lacey buys The Blue Bear for his fiancée, and they’re a pair of New Age collectors, pagan Continuists. And it’s disgusting, lol, in terms of the food *more laughter*.

The Cover

The cover has a white background with horizontal blue lines, as if it were a schoolchild’s notebook. The font used certainly looks primary with its watercolors of blue, orange, and green slopping out the uppercase letters. I do like the artistic touch of the paint, but I’m not sure what the schoolroom effect is supposed to do. The more subtle aspect is that those horizontal lines are meant to represent the lines on a first class envelope with its thin border of skewed orange, white, and blue rectangles, a “clue” I finally picked up on when I noticed the Eiffel Tower stamp with its Paris postmark.

The title is very tongue-in-cheek as Richard becomes more and more miserable as he realizes the mistake he made. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You is not Richard’s battle cry.