It’s easy for an author to get sucked into familiar tropes when writing about families; like venturing into a blind canyon, writers can stumble into cliches and have difficulty finding their way out. But with her latest novel, There’s a Word for That, Sloane Tanen is evidently undaunted by these common pitfalls, as she presents us with not one but two families with serious issues ... There’s a Word for That is often uproariously funny. Tanen’s skill is that you don’t laugh at the characters. Janine and Marty and Hailey and Henry and even Bunny know how messed up they are. All you, and they, can do is laugh at the straits they find themselves in and soldier on.
Lost and profoundly myopic souls abound in Tanen’s tale ... The oft-mined tropes here would have benefited from more original insights and deeper humor, and the novel’s tone never fully settles; still, one wholeheartedly hopes that they all find some measure of future happiness.