One’s Company

OrangeSky Audio. Jun. 2022. 9:43 hrs. ISBN 9781667070773. $19.99. F
Hutson’s completely original debut opens with thirtysomething protagonist Bonnie Lincoln collecting the largest lottery jackpot in history and immediately searching for a remote property on which she will build an exact replica of the set of the zany 1970s–80s sitcom Three’s Company. Once the apartment complex and all the other buildings (e.g., the flower shop where Janet worked; Jack’s restaurant) are constructed and furnished, she’ll live one year as each character, working her way through all episodes of the show from the perspective of every character. Although Hutson writes in the first person, Bonnie’s complicated character, and the horrific traumas that pushed her toward this bizarre fantasy world, are divulged only gradually, thanks to Hutson’s precise prose and brilliantly structured, nonlinear narrative. Narrator Rachel Jacobs’s sympathetic depiction of Bonnie’s obsession, mania, and vulnerabilities helps listeners truly connect with Bonnie, even as her unaddressed grief and trauma make her dangerous to herself and others.
VERDICT Unlike episodes of her beloved sitcom, Bonnie’s story is destined for an unhappy ending, one that may disappoint some listeners, but Hutson’s clever novel also contains many exquisite moments of delight and tenderness, all warmly presented by Jacobs. Highly recommended for all literary fiction collections.
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