The BookBrowse Review

Published June 22, 2022

ISSN: 1930-0018

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In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

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Editor's Introduction
Reviews
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Young Adults

Literary Fiction

  • Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (rated 4/5)

Thrillers


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Extras
  • Blog:
    6 Novels for Book Clubs That Reflect on Reproductive Rights
  • Wordplay:
    T O Thing W H T F I F I
  • Book Giveaway:
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Book Jacket

One's Company
A Novel
by Ashley Hutson
14 Jun 2022
272 pages
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Genre: Literary Fiction
Peperback Original
Critics:
Readers:
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BookBrowse members resident in the USA can request free review copies of books through our First Impressions program. Below are their opinions on one such book...

Write your own review

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Ann B. (Kernville, CA)

Beyond the comfort of fantasy lies the unknowable fourth wall
Bonnie Lincoln has survived horrific trauma. Barely survived. When she wins the mother of all lotteries, Bonnie decides that she can indeed escape her pain, her trauma, and her past. All she needs is to trade her story for that of her favorite TV show characters. "My reality cracked open, and the television spooned another one on top." Bonnie buys a remote property, builds an identical re-creation of Three's Company. All alone, she not only binge-watches the eight seasons of episodes that ran from 1977 to 1984. She binge-lives the show, inhabiting each of the characters, year by year. But eventually she will have to face the unknowable fourth wall. I absolutely binge-read this novel, laughing with Bonnie one minute, aching for her the next minute -- aching for her through the bittersweet ending.
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Judith S. (Marietta, GA)

one's company
reading "one's company" is not unlike (i imagine) slowly, but steadily, descending into madness. the reader is given a tour through the mind of someone losing their grip on a reality that may not even be real. being transported between the before and after (a specific event), we are privileged to listen to the inner thoughts of someone on the edge. if this is not disturbing enough, many of those thoughts, ideas and desires are ones that we have had ourselves.
the author invites us into a world we both recognize and are frightened or repulsed by. throughout the whole, there is the sense that this story, this person is absurd. but is she?
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Julie Z. (Oak Park, IL)

One's Company
Bonnie Lincoln has not had an easy life-both her mother and father died at an early age, leaving her without resources. She is "taken in" by her friend Krystal's family, but soon the mother, father, and brother are murdered in the grocery store which they own. Luckily, Bonnie wins a huge amount of money in the lottery, allowing her to escape her reality by building a life within the set of popular 70's sitcom "Three's Company". Bonnie creates a life in which she rotates living as each of the television show's characters; cutting herself off from all communication with the outside world.
In Bonnie, Ashley Hutson has created a surreal heroine. What is real and what is imagined? How have the traumas that Bonnie has suffered contributed to this bizarre life she has created? I was puzzled at many of her choices, but was riveted to the book until completion. Hutson has a bright future in literature- I found this to be a well-written, gripping novel.
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Sylvia T. (Rancho Mirage, CA)

High praise for One's Company and for Ashley Hutson
I absolutely LOVED this book. It was a bizarre storyline about a woman who wins the lottery and uses the money to recreate the "Three's Company" set to live in. However, unlike Three’s Company characters, Bonnie throughout the book experiences severe responses to the trauma she has endured - constant exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, and agitation just to name a few. I doubt that you’ll be able to put this book aside until you finish it. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Ashley Hutson’s ONE’S COMPANY to see for yourself!
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Dan W. (Fort Myers, FL)

An Amazing Reality
This book captures a multitude of experiences resulting in the main character, Bonnie Lincoln, removing herself from society after winning an enormous lottery. What starts off in a "once in a lifetime dream" of winning a lottery to the demons that come to possess Bonnie's life of residing in a self-imposed world of loneliness. At times this novel can be troubling to read due to Bonnie's decision to remove herself from society to live in a fantasy world of a 1970s TV show, "Three's Company". The depths that the author goes to revealing the innermost thoughts of the main character is brilliant! I believe this is a book that would be engaging to discuss at a book club.
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Susan W. (Berkley, MI)

When does a wish for solitude become an obsession
This book gave me a lot to think about. Right from the start I was taken in by the idea of a lonely person wanting to immerse themselves in a fictional place. Who hasn't read a book and inserted themselves in the action? But Bonnie is able to take it to the extreme when she wins the lottery.

She goes from being on the outside looking in, to being inside working to shut out the rest of the world. Bonnie's wish for solitude has become an obsession.

I felt like the author gave us a look inside the madness of Bonnie's loneliness. It was uncomfortable and chilling.
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Melissa C. (Saint Johns, FL)

Compulsively readable
I absolutely loved this book and to my own surprise, could not stop reading. In fact, the more I read, the more I wanted to read until the very end, which blew my mind (in such a good way). To say it's about a woman who wins the lottery and seeks to live her life secluded from society immersed in the 70's sitcom Three's Company does not do the book justice. The author addresses important issues of trauma, loneliness & mental health in a wholly original way. High praise for One's Company and for Ashley Hutson!!
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Mary B. (St Paul, MN)

One's Company
One's Company is a very interesting book. The premise is certainly unusual, replication of the television show Three's Company, set and characters. The main character's obsession, in the present, of the 70's sitcom is over the top. As the first person narrative goes on we discover more about the main characters motivations and her traumatic past. Though I found the story sad and depressing, it was so well written I continued to find out how it ended. I'm glad I did.
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by WDH - KY

Different But Sad
I am glad I read this book. It was a very different view on the aftermath of tragedy along with the impact of winning the lottery. Opposites - the first brought pain, fear, anger and sadness into her life while the second afforded an opportunity to completely escape into a world that she created and controlled. That world was isolated and lonely which was a different kind of pain. Would recommend.
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Jennie R. (Highland, CA)

Like nothing I've read before…
One's Company is certainly a unique story. Bonnie's story stirred up so much compassion in me. After an unhappy childhood, Bonnie experiences a traumatic incident as a young adult. The tv show 'Three's Company' is a comforting saving grace as she recovers from the trauma, but Bonnie becomes obsessed with the show and the characters. Fast forward a couple of years…Bonnie hit a huge jackpot winning the lottery. With the money, she decides to have a Three's Company city built, just for her. She plans to live there and experience life as each character, one by one. The detail she puts into planning are impressive, but as the project progresses, Bonnie becomes less and less in touch with reality. I won't spoil the whole story for you, but some of the events that take place will leave you wondering how much is real and how much is a product of Bonnie's increasingly fragile mental state.
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Laura S. (Medford, OR)

The Depths of Loss
One's Company is a wild ride into the aftermath of loss and trauma. Exploring just how far personal madness can go when one both isolates and receives no care/therapy after devastating traumas. At first it felt depressing, and then I couldn't put it down.
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Jessica F. (Revere, MA)

Bizarre...In A Good Way
Wow! This was like nothing I have ever read. A completely bizarre story that kept me turning the pages just to see how it would end. I enjoyed the nostalgic feeling of the "Three's Company" vibe. In fact, I watched the show a few times while I was reading the book.

I think readers who enjoy psychology would be interested in this read. There is a lot to unpack here!
I don't think the book is "meaty" enough for a strong book club discussion, but it will definitely satisfy anyone who is a fan of "Three's Company".

Overall, I did enjoy the book - mostly because it was so bizarre!
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Joanne J. (Franklin, MA)

Somewhere in Time Meets Ottessa Moshfegh
One's Company, Ashley Hutson's debut novel reminded me of the romantic movie Somewhere in Time and Ottessa Moshfegh's novel Eileen albeit for disparate reasons. True, One's Company is not a romance, but Hutson's careful adherence to detail in creating her world resembles the verisimilitude -- in fashion and speech--sought by Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) in order to successfully travel through time. Hutson's delineation of the characters and settings in One's Company resembles Moshfegh's depiction of the main characters in Eileen, but Hutson's complex characterizations are strictly her own, physically and emotionally built upon background and incidents in the narrative.

Readers who appreciate dark humor, dense narrative, and farcical situations will love this novel.
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Melissa U. (Jackson, NJ)

One's Company
Entertaining and quirky!
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Sarah M. (Lancaster, PA)

Not What I Expected
Based on the description of this book, I didn't think I would like this novel; however, I am glad I read it. It is an imaginative and well-written story, and it was a page-turner for me. The main character, Bonnie, immerses herself in a fantasy world as a way to cope with trauma and loss in her life. The author spares no detail in her descriptions of this imaginary world. Although the concept is far-fetched, the story leaves the reader with many issues to ponder: mental illness, withdrawal from society, relationships, and loss. This was not a light read, and I'm not sure it would be popular with book clubs, but if you like a dark topic, this may be the book for you.
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Portia A. (Monroe Township, NJ)

Fate takes odd turns
Fate had been very unkind to Bonnie Lincoln..suicide, murders and rape had been her past. But, suddenly a change..Bonnie hits the lottery and gets her wish..to live an a fantasy world of a 1970s sitcom. An interesting plot in an interesting book. I found it fascinating.
Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Carol T. (Ankeny, IA)

Interesting concept
Hutson's debut is an interesting concept and she obviously did a lot of research. (How much Three's Company must she have watched?!) However, I had difficulty actually suspending my own disbelief.
Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Peggy H. (North East, PA)

Spinning Out of Control
Although I enjoyed reading this book, I found I had to totally disconnect from any feelings of reality to become immersed in its world. And that is the point. Our heroine is seriously damaged goods and never gets the help that she so desperately needs to be able to function in the real world. The fact that so many people would take money to create this extreme fantasy world is jarring, but plausible.
The result is sad. What did I learn from the book? Never give up trying to help people with serious mental illness.
Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Jayne25

Well written, but…
One’s Company is a well written book, but I struggled to connect with the main character, Bonnie Lincoln. Her desire to create and live an alternate life (more like an alternate reality) immersed in a sitcom was far fetched and too imaginative (borderline madness) for me. As a reader who savors well written books, I was disappointed. I wouldn’t recommend One’s Company.
Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Kari J. (Green Valley, AZ)

Rough
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and review One's Company by Ashley Hutson.

Bonnie is a very troubled woman, and from the storyline, deservedly so. Suffering an unbelievable number of severe traumas, she attempts to build her own alternative reality using her newly won mega-lottery winnings.

My opinion is that this is a story about PTSD and severe mental health issues gone over-looked with devastating results.

I also felt that situations were 'thrown in' that didn't deem useful to the storyline, making it hard to follow at times. I found myself at times confused and wondering what day I was reading about, or what had actually happened when, or to, a character. I kept flipping back and forth trying to figure it out, ultimately giving up.

I finished the book and found it had an upward turn which was only slightly redeeming.

I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend this book but will read other reviews.
Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by beverly b

huh ?
I always have an issue when I need to remind myself "suspension of disbelief". Although the author does address mental illness, loneliness and trauma compassionately this story just didn't resonate with me. Almost a dnf.
Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Nancy K. (Perrysburg, OH)

Strange Book
Perhaps if I had been a fan of the TV show Three's Company I would have enjoyed this book more. Or maybe if the characters in this novel would have been more likable I could have given a more favorable review to this book. Winning a lottery should have led to a happier conclusion. However, in my humble opinion One's Company is going to have a hard time finding the right audience to appreciate this story.
I can't recommend it.
Nancy K.
Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Patricia L. (Seward, AK)

No-one's Company
Meet Bonnie Lincoln. She has a thing for the 80's TV sitcom Three's Company. To say she is obsessed is an understatement. The only bedroom in her tiny trailer is reserved for multiples of 3C DVD collections and all the bling she can afford on her warehouse stockperson salary. She binges season after season abed on the living room sofa. And then she wins the lottery, literally. Her good fortune allows her to make the obsession a reality, one she is adamant will not be shared with anyone. Ever. No Bonnie didn't have a "normal" childhood and yes, she experienced a particularly heinous incident that helps to foster this submissive fascination with the squeaky-clean life of a TV sitcom.
One's Company is readable yet spice less. A woman living a dated sitcom in her head is allowed to physically recreate it because she won the lottery? Issues of abandonment, violence and mental health are woven into the plot but Bonnie and her circumstances never really reach palatable much less tasty. Only recommended for those familiar with Three's Company and still care.
Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Peggy A. (Fairfax, VA)

One's Company
Bonnie Lincoln is obsessed with a television show to the point that she wants to become the characters in the show.

Winning the lottery has given her the money to create a town exactly like the TV show and become each character. She is so obsessed with her project that she loses sight of reality to the point of madness.

To me, this book was very sad and depressing. Even though I wanted to and did finish reading this book I cannot recommend it to others .

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