After rehab, Olivia, a 32-year-old cocaine addict, is required to move back in with her mother and pregnant sister. Having left a promising career in journalism in New York, she’s now working as a sales assistant for a family friend in her hometown in North Texas.
Under pressure from her court-mandated counselor – an old high school friend – to take up a hobby, Olivia decides on “urbexing.” Soon she’s breaking into derelict homes, ex-prisons, and old drive-ins across North Texas, and it’s not long before she’s looting state property and making money off the possessions, fixtures, and fittings that have been left behind.
Old Buildings in North Texas is about a modern woman’s search for personal equilibrium and wild adventure — the attempt to find stability in existence without losing sight of what makes life worth living. Jen Waldo’s style modulates effortlessly from domestic nuance to taut adventure, tackling social and moral transgressions with incisive observation and vivid humor.
PRAISE FOR OLD BUILDINGS IN NORTH TEXAS
“A lot of Jen Waldo’s debut novel takes place out on the porch of Olivia’s mother’s house. […] With its casual, confidential tone, Old Buildings in North Texas puts the reader in one of those porch chairs, reclining on a warm evening with a cool drink.” — The Skinny
“Old Buildings in North Texas is an amusingly written and well worked book” — Trip Fiction
“This novel is an absolute blast. There are serious moments of course, but Jen Waldo looks for the comedy in everything to create a memorable scenario that reminded me very much of the style of Six Feet Under.” — Shiny New Books
“….and so the grand plantation home stands alone with no chlorophyll to frame it, no festooned branches to enhance its lines.”
First – This is not a typical Arcadia book.
Second – The title does not do this book justice.
Third – Curiosity is always good.
When I saw this was an Arcadia book, I first thought it was literally about old buildings in North Texas. Based on past Arcadia books I’ve read, I thought the author would be taking me on a pictorial journey of some cool old buildings with some history thrown in.
It does deal with old buildings, but not in the way I thought. This book is so much more. As the story began in the first chapter I started getting confused because I was literally trying to geographically place the Texas town the author references with the name of the newspaper, Caprock Courier, mentioned in the book. You see there is a newspaper by that name in Silverton, Texas.
Chapter two starting making sense and it eventually became an enchanting Saturday morning read. This story predominantly revolves around Olivia, her mom, and her sister. It’s a story that shows how life can throw some balls at you and this story had plenty of balls being thrown in different directions. It almost became a comedy of errors at points involving these characters.
It’s a dynamo pint-size story about a young woman named Olivia who drifted into taking cocaine and almost died from it. As part of her recovery, she is nagged to take up a hobby and that hobby becomes going into old buildings and salvaging items to sell from them.
“She’s not a moralist, but she is adamant about being smart.”
Bible references have a tendency to put me off in books, but I appreciate how the author incorporated them and allowing Olivia to make very believable interpretations of passages mentioned in the book.
The author carries the story and voice purely throughout the book. That’s what kept me reading this well-written book because the voice of Olivia carried me along perfectly at every stage in this story. This is not a time waster. It is a perfect getaway read.
As a side note, there are always right ways to cross a barbed wire fence. If the author has crossed them like it is mentioned in the book – then dang I hope she never gets caught by a t-post or barbed wire.
“once again I find myself crossing the line between doing what’s right and doing what I want.”
Jen Waldo lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period and has now settled, along with her husband, in Marble Falls, Texas. She first started writing over twenty years ago when, while living in Cairo, she had difficulty locating reading material and realized she’d have to make her own fun. She has since earned an MFA and written a number of novels. Her work has been published in The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler magazine. Old Buildings in North Texas and Why Stuff Matters have been published in the UK by Arcadia Books. Jen’s fiction is set in Northwest Texas and she’s grateful to her hometown of Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind.
Scroll down for an exclusive giveaway from Jodi Thomas!
A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.
Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas. Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another. Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?
In this uplifting novel, three unlikely couples discover just what Crossroads, Texas, can offer: romance, belonging, and plenty of Christmas spirit.
”Deeply poignant moments and artfully rendered characters create a rich story that transports readers to an idyllic place.” – Publishers Weekly
A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.
With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.
Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and checking up on their two grown sons.