#BookReview: The Art of Adapting by Cassandra Dunn

Reviewer: Samantha

I received a review copy

the art of adaptingSummary:

In this warm and winning first novel, a recently divorced woman rises to the challenge and experiences the exhilaration of independence with the unlikely help of her brother with Asperger’s, who she takes in to help pay the rent.

Seven months after her husband leaves her, Lana is still reeling. Being single means she is in charge of every part of her life, and for the first time in nineteen years, she can do things the way she always wanted to do them. But that also leaves her with all the responsibility. With two teenage children—Byron and Abby, who are each dealing with their own struggles—in a house she can barely afford on her solo salary, her new life is a balancing act made even more complicated when her brother Matt moves in.

Matt has Asperger’s syndrome, which makes social situations difficult for him and flexibility and change nearly impossible. He only eats certain foods in a certain order and fixates on minor details. When Lana took him in, he was self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to numb his active mind enough to sleep at night. Adding Matt’s regimented routine to her already disrupted household seems like the last thing Lana needs, but her brother’s unique attention to detail makes him an invaluable addition to the family: he sees things differently.

Complex, smart, and genuinely moving, The Art of Adapting is a feel-good story that celebrates the small moments and small changes that make one big life.


The power of social media! Author Cassandra Dunn and I found each other online via our love of the Vizsla breed – we each own these Velcro dogs and bonded over ownership of the uniqueness of this breed. When Cassandra let me know her debut novel featured the loveable V, I immediately accepted her review offer.

There is a lot more to this novel than the brief mentions of the Vizsla. We get the POV from several characters – Lana, her two children, and her brother Matt. Lana is struggling through a divorce and raising her children, Byron is trying to find his own while in high school and entering the dating world, Abby struggles with an eating disorder and bullying, and Matt has Asperger’s, and has daily struggles in his life. I thought it was interesting that we got these multiple POVs, but it makes sense when you think about the title. Each character is adapting to something, and over the first few chapters, I began to warm to the pace. While I tend to lean towards the faster novels (a characteristic found in many chick lit books) I was soon into my reading groove.

I am highly impressed this is a debut novel, as it was rich, compelling, and definitely tugged at the heartstrings. I loved the overall tone and message of the book, which is basically learning how to not only adapt to changes in your life, but to thrive along with them. And the Vizsla scenes didn’t hurt either 🙂

4 stars

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