The Means Read Online Amy Fusselman

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 63
Estimated words: 58106 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 291(@200wpm)___ 232(@250wpm)___ 194(@300wpm)

The debut novel from Amy Fusselman, a tragicomic family saga that skewers contemporary issues of money, motherhood, and class through a well-to-do woman’s quest to buy a Hamptons beach house.

Shelly Means, a wealthy stay-at-home mom and disgraced former PTA president, is poised to get the one thing in life she really wants: a beach house in the Hamptons. Who would have guessed that Shelly, the product of frugal Midwesterners, or her husband George, an unrepentant thrift shopper, would ever be living among such swells? But Shelly believes it’s possible. It might be a very small house, and it might be in the least-fancy part of the Hamptons. But Shelly has a vision board, an architect, and a plan.
But what should be a simple real estate transaction quickly goes awry as Shelly’s new neighbors disapprove of her proposed shipping container house at the same time that George’s lucrative work as a VoiceOver artist dries up. But Shelly is dogged. She knows how to go into beast mode. But will it ever be enough to realize her beach house dreams?

A novel of real estate, ambition, family, and money from “one of our best interrogators of how we live now, and how we should live” (Dave Eggers), The Means is also a fantastical, fast-moving and very funny exploration of class, wealth, and the value of work.





Japanese toilet

4 beds

3 baths

Heated pool

Heated floors


At last! I am going to get a beach house!

Steps I have taken to get to this moment of beach house ownership:




Married (George)

George made $$$

George and I bought lake house

A raccoon wedged its beefy body through a hole that we didn’t know existed in the lake house chimney guard. He fell down the chimney into the house when we weren’t there and then spent a week drinking out of the toilet, jumping on the beds, and smearing soot on every surface. He was like a coin that dropped into the slot machine of our lake house, causing a riot of spinning fruits and ringing bells.

We had no idea we were winning like this. We had no camera installed. Our observant neighbor at the lake called us at our apartment in the city to tell us about our jackpot. He advised us to call the wildlife control people, so I did that. And then the wildlife control people went out to the house and after three long days they called me back and said, “The bad news is that you have a raccoon in your house, and the other bad news is we can’t get him out.”

“Look at that,” I said to George, who was sitting beside me in the kitchen in our apartment on West Twenty-Seventh Street, in what we fondly referred to as the discount caftan and incense district. “The wildlife control people can’t control the wildlife, just like us.”

I then called different wildlife control people I had searched up—who knew there were so many of them in that little lake town, like they were pizza joints—and these other wildlife control people must have been PhD-level animal behaviorists because they opened our front door and put bait outside it, and just like that, our raccoon—because we thought of him as ours now—walked out the front door and back into his life again. And then I hope he drank many raccoon beers with his raccoon friends and told them all about the time he fell down a hole into another world and went berserk there until a door opened and he walked out of it, a changed animal.

George and I were English majors in college, and we had met in a class on Charles Dickens, so we thought we were prepared—in a fictional, chimney-sweep-loving way—for cleaning up after a sooty raccoon. But our nonfiction raccoon had not only fallen down our lake house chimney, he had cut himself on a glass jar of organic peanut butter that he had smashed open, so in addition to chimney soot and peanut butter, raccoon blood was everywhere, and it was that last little detail that pushed the entire situation out of the realm of Victorian literature and into the territory of a horror film. Cleaning bloody paw prints from the ceiling was not at all like writing a five-paragraph essay about Oliver Twist and his dual role as a victim and thief.

After George and I cleaned, then hired a service to clean up extra after our cleaning, we came to the conclusion that it was time to sell the lake house. We hardly went there anymore because we were so busy; we couldn’t deal with the homeowner issues; and the younger of our two kids, our ten-year-old daughter, Clementine, having learned to swim in the YMCA pool, refused to swim in the lake whenever she saw “gunk” in it, which was always, because although Clementine can’t remember her times tables very well, she has the visual acuity of a bird of prey.