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The Old Place  By  cover art

The Old Place

By: Bobby Finger
Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik
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Publisher's Summary

A bighearted and moving debut about a wry retired schoolteacher whose decade-old secret threatens to come to light and send shockwaves through her small Texas town.

Billington, Texas, is a place where nothing changes. Well, almost nothing. For the first time in nearly four decades, Mary Alice Roth is not getting ready for the first day of school at Billington High. A few months into her retirement—or, district mandated exile as she calls it—Mary Alice does not know how to fill her days. The annual picnic is coming up, but that isn’t nearly enough since the menu never changes and she had the roles mentally assigned weeks ago. At least there’s Ellie, who stops by each morning for coffee and whose reemergence in Mary Alice’s life is the one thing soothing the sting of retirement.

Mary Alice and Ellie were a pair since the day Ellie moved in next door. That they both were single mothers—Mary Alice widowed, Ellie divorced—with sons the same age was a pleasant coincidence, but they were forever linked when they lost the boys, one right after the other. Years later, the two are working their way back to a comfortable friendship. But when Mary Alice’s sister arrives on her doorstep with a staggering piece of news, it jeopardizes the careful shell she’s built around her life. The whole of her friendship with Ellie is put at risk, the fabric of a place as steadfast as Billington is questioned, and the unflappable, knotty fixture that is Mary Alice Roth might have to change after all.

©2022 Bobby Finger (P)2022 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

What listeners say about The Old Place

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I heard the author on a podcast and...

I wanted to give it a shot. I liked the author's way of presenting things. If I get to the end of a story it's because it holds my interest... And if it holds my interest, it gets five stars.

I loved this one because it was relatable, easy to understand, and I liked the way the author said things and fleshed out the main characters. I am hopeful that he revisits the town and the other characters and their stories.

I am not one to want to hear the same thing over and over again and I appreciated this author for telling his story, getting in, introducing the characters, identifying the problem, bringing it to a climax, and then the resolution, and ending. We didn't cover old ground over and over again as even some of my most favorite authors do these days.

I will say, however, it would not have been wrong to have wrong to have dallied a little bit more on the ending.

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Great first novel

I thoroughly enjoyed this and all his characters! He kept me entranced through the entire book and I can’t wait for his next one!

1 person found this helpful

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Heartfelt, hilarious Texas fiction.

Narration is spot on, and all of the Texas details are lovely and 100% accurate. ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼

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incredible book

Absolutely loved this. I can't wait to read more from this author! It was a refreshing and new story about the complexity of human relationships and experiences

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Fantastic, surprising debut

I’m a longtime fan of Bobby Finger, so I preordered this book as soon as I found out about it. I admire his wit, intelligence, perceptiveness, and way with words and I was so curious what his first novel would turn out to be.

I didn’t read any reviews or details before hitting play, eager to be surprised. And surprised I was, in the best of ways. At first, I was disappointed that Bobby’s voice that I love listening to so much wasn’t narrating the novel, but once I understood more about the story, and once I heard her skillful reading, I was convinced that Barrie Kreinik had been the perfect choice.

I couldn’t stop listening. Everything about it kept me enthralled and emotionally invested - a credit to Bobby’s precise, impeccable prose, his deliberately layered narrative building, and his overall storytelling skill. As if it weren’t obvious already, I strongly recommend this book.

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Surprising and devastating and delightful

I never stopped getting something other than what I expected from this book, and being happy to. For one thing, it was an unusual format. Not much happens in real time, but you’re constantly dipping into the past to get new context for what does happen, and it’s surprising every time. It’s a delicious way to unveil a narrative, and it led to a huge amount of tension towards the end. Really deft debut!

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Not terribly captivating

The book is meh. Doesn’t really make you want more…very basic reading/listening. Dull