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There's a Word for That

Narrated by: Therese Plummer
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Engrossing, hilarious, and tender...I couldn't put it down." (Gretchen Rubin, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project)

A hilarious and moving chronicle of a wildly flawed family that comes together - in rehab, of all places - even as each member is on the verge of falling apart.

Introducing the Kesslers: Marty, a retired LA film producer whose self-worth has been eroded by age and a late-in-life passion for opioids; his daughter, Janine, former child star suffering the aftereffects of a life in the public eye; and granddaughter Hailey, the "less-than" twin sister, whose inferiority complex takes a most unexpected turn. Nearly 6,000 miles away, in London, celebrated author Bunny Small, Marty's long-forgotten first wife, has her own problems: a "preposterous" case of writer's block, a monstrous drinking habit, and a son who has fled halfway around the world to escape her. 

When Marty's pill-popping gets out of hand and Bunny's boozing reaches crisis proportions, a perfect storm of dysfunction brings them all together at Directions, Malibu's most exclusive and absurd rehab center.

But for all their failings, the members of this estranged - and strange - family love each other. Rich with warmth, humor, and deep insight, There's a Word for That is a comic ode to surviving the people closest to us, navigating the perils of success, and taking one last look in the rearview mirror before mapping out the road ahead.

©2019 Sloane Tanen (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"I haven't read a book as quickly (one 22-hour plane ride) and compulsively in a long time. There's a Word for That is that rare mix of funny and gutting, a page-turner coupled with deep emotional resonance. The characters are so richly drawn and their journeys so absorbing that by the end of the book, it felt a real loss to let them go. A funny, moving, gem of a novel." (Melanie Abrams, author of Playing)

"Engrossing, hilarious, and tender, this novel tells the story of how a family breaks apart and comes together despite years of mistakes and mishaps. I couldn't put it down." (Gretchen Rubin, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project)

"This is the novel for anyone who has ever had family. Oh, wait. That means everyone. Yes, it does. Sloane Tanen deliciously skewers us all while she romps through the connections we make and trample in our attempt to stay related to one another. Hilarious, wondrous, and fun, this is the book for right now." (Marion Roach Smith, author of The Memoir Project)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

11hrs 27mins...

...is too long a time to spend in the company of such unlikeable characters . Too much bickering and self absorption for my taste. Even so, I stuck it out to the end - the author is an entertaining writer and I hope she’ll write something less caustic in the future. Also, I, for one, am fed up with constant swearing - especially “f***” in its many forms- in contemporary books. Please stop!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 04-17-19

There's a word for that... adore

Adore (verb): love and respect deeply. I adore this novel! Light, fun and funny. A dramedy with real world issues and laughs. Every character is flawed in some way, some treating each other terribly at times, yet we get an understanding of their history and why they act the way they do. Getting to know each character and watching their relationships grow is satisfying. Reminds me of a mixture of Shameless, Arrested Development, and The Royal Tennenbaums. Like binge watching a good TV show, I've grown attached and am sad for it to end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Funny and appealing

I love this! I laughed a lot and even teared up a little in places. It’s so compelling I couldn’t stop listening. I loved the writing, and the narrator is wonderful. It all works great together—it’s so good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Danielle
  • st paul, MN, United States
  • 04-08-19

Love, love LOVE! Could not stop listening!

This book is about families and the disfunction that makes each unique. The cast of characters are lovable and even dislikable, which makes it even better.
There are laugh out loud moments but poignant and heartwarming moments. The storyline is truly solid and woven together beautifully. I immediately searched for more from this author but didn't find any. I'm looking forward to the next gem!
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good story- loved California vibe

Interesting plot with deep character development. Okay performance, but it was a tough one. Being from California, I loved that it was set there.

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So boring

I wish I could say I agreed with all of the positive reviews on this book but I found it SO boring.
A bunch of privileged family members and I could not have cared less about what happened to any of them.

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Perfect !!

Smart characters, funny , poignant real life story, spot-on reading. I was immediately drawn in and attached by the first 20 minutes and so sad when it ended.
Hey, Reese Witherspoon, make the movie !!!!!!