My third vacation read was a wild one. In One’s Company, a debut novel by Ashley Hutson, a twentysomething named Bonnie has lived through some horrible trauma. To soothe herself, she turns to the late 70s/early 80s sitcom “Three’s Company”, which presents her with a simpler, happier world than the one she inhabits. She grows increasingly obsessed with the series as she withdraws from her current reality. When she wins a massive lottery prize (think over $1 billion), she decides to spend her money recreating the world that the “Three’s Company” characters live in, making it as accurate as possible. That way, she can leave the pain of her present-day existence and make her fantasy – to be one of the characters on the show – a reality. Weird, right?
Why I picked it up: One’s Company was offered to me as an ARC and I couldn’t resist the premise.
One’s Company is a brilliant and beautifully written book. I give Hutson tremendous credit for coming up with this original premise and for its execution. Although the plot is outlandish, the book is meticulously planned out, with each detail attended to and each contingency explored. Ultimately, it’s a book about mental illness, trauma and loneliness, and the depths people go to to soothe and survive. While it may sound fun or even whimsical, it is anything but: Bonnie’s grief and need to avoid emotion and connection is deeply sad. I found this book to be strange and moving and remarkable all at once.
One’s Company could have been a five star read for me, but I didn’t like the ending, which was too dramatic and unresolved. It felt like Hutson switched gears about 80% of the way through the book, and the last fifth didn’t match what came before.
I kept telling my husband as I was reading that this book was “bonkers”, a word I’m not sure I’ve ever used before. It is, in the best way possible. I definitely recommend picking it up.
One’s Company was the 40th book of 2022 and satisfies the Debut Novel category of the 2022 Everyday I Write The Book Reading Challenge.