This contemporary take on Flaubert’s Emma and Charles Bovary quickly becomes a satire of suburban American life in the immediate pre-Trump years.
Emma Bovant has lost her job but struggles to keep up appearances even though her family can’t match the pampered lifestyle of her friends from “the Estates.” Her dissatisfaction with her position in society, like Emma Bovary’s, is caused partly by reading—in this case of articles like “Exotic Vacation Getaways to Enrich Your Life” and “Designing the Perfect Second Home.”
Emma’s simple, naïve husband is no help. As long as there are no preservatives, pesticides, or growth hormones in his food, he is content. He has no ambition and believes no ill of anyone, which causes trouble when the glamorous real estate developer Bea hires him as a life coach and lures him away to New York, leaving Emma to care for their third-grader Todd by herself.
For solace, Emma turns to their unmarried, eccentric friend Andre. He is gay, attractive, and totally unconcerned with what he calls Emma’s first-world problems. Partly under his influence, Emma abandons her struggle to meet the expectations of wealthy neighbors, begins tutoring an immigrant family, and comes to their aid when the corrupt county executive stages an Immigration raid as a political ploy.
When Emma uncovers a conspiracy by Bea and her pastor Mitch Rainey to defraud Andre and his neighbors of their property in order complete their Riverside Paradise development, it is up to her to stop it.
A modern-day twist on Flaubert’s Madame Bovary sets the story in small-town America.
An amusing, if drawn-out, satire of suburban life.
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