HOT SPRINGS DRIVE by Lindsay Hunter

I’ve been in a major reading rut the last two months, too distracted to focus, so I keep starting books and reading 20 pages and then stopping. I thought I might get out of the rut with Hot Springs Drive by Lindsay Hunter, a book I had heard compared to Gone Girl. It’s about Jackie and Theresa, next door neighbors who become best friends and then decide to lose weight together. Their physical transformations change them in other ways, and their friendship is tested when Jackie discovers new insatiable appetites that drive her to an affair with Theresa’s husband. The affair is discovered, with ramifications for both families.

Why I picked it up: Needed a rutbuster.

The first half of Hot Springs Drive ended up being a little slow and it took me a while to get into it. By the second half, though, it really picked up and I started flying through it. So it was mostly successful in getting me to finish a book. Hunter is an incredible writer – detailed and dark, sharp and smart. She has a somewhat twisted view of the world, which really worked for me. The chapters of Hot Springs Drive rotated among Theresa, Jackie and their husbands and the five children between them, so the reader gets a pretty layered look at what transpired, from many perspectives, over years.

Hot Springs Drive is ultimately about desire and expectation – wanting other people’s attention and love, and trying to live up to the expectations society places on people, especially women. It’s definitely a dark story, but so well-written. I ended up liking it quite a bit.

Hot Springs Drive was the 55th book of 2023.