Start Without Me: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I picked up this book because of the fun cover, and I am glad I did; I was looking for a light and entertaining novel, but with good literary merit, and I found it in this book. Feldman creates a wacky tale of dysfunctional but loving friendship and family that will keep you turning pages. When two unlikely strangers meet at an airport cafe on Thanksgiving Day, and end up on a road trip that spans New England, spilling each other's secrets, fears, and character flaws, all the while trying to just make it through the holidays sober, or without getting caught in a lie, you know you're in for a fun read. Funky characters, good dialogue, a Thanksgiving dinner that is probably more dysfunctional than yours, and fun musical gospel, plus a few revelations along the way--you might just have faith in the power of friendship, and be in awe of the generosity of strangers.

— Sam


The author of the critically acclaimed The Book of Jonah explores questions of love and choice, disappointment and hope in the lives of two strangers who meet by chance in this mesmerizing tale that unfolds over one Thanksgiving Day.

Adam is a former musician and recovering alcoholic who is home for Thanksgiving for the first time in many years. Surrounded by his parents and siblings, nieces and nephews—all who have seen him at his worst—he can’t shake the feeling that no matter how hard he tries, he’ll always be the one who can’t get it right.

Marissa is a flight attendant whose marriage is strained by simmering tensions over race, class, and ambition. Heading to her in-laws for their picture-perfect holiday family dinner, her anxiety is intensified by the knowledge she is pregnant from an impulsive one-night-stand.

In an airport restaurant on Thanksgiving morning, Adam and Marissa meet. Over the course of this day fraught with emotion and expectation, these two strangers will form an unlikely bond as they reckon with their family ties, their pasts, and the choices that will determine their way forward.

Joshua Max Feldman focuses his knowing eye on one of the last bastions of classical American idealism, the Thanksgiving family gathering, as he explores our struggles to know—and to be—our best selves. Hilarious and heartrending, Start Without Me is a thoughtful and entertaining page-turner that will leave its indelible mark on your heart.

Praise For…

“Equal parts funny and searingly beautiful...well worth the ride.”

“Feldman’s engaging novel offers sublime levity to balance the gravity of his characters’ various struggles, and Adam’s and Marissa’s tales interweave effortlessly as they search for meaning among many doubts and what-ifs.”

“A satisfying story about chance meetings and kinship.”

“Joshua Max Feldman has written the quintessential Thanksgiving novel. START WITHOUT ME has all the ingredients for an explosive holiday and a page-turning read: the turkey dinner hastily eaten, secrets and lies, and extra servings of love and dread with the possibility of redemption.”

“START WITHOUT ME is an exceptional novel.  Following the Thanksgiving of two strangers who help each other through the catastrophic fall-out of their decisions, it’s a tender, funny, beautifully written evocation of the maelstrom of the holidays and the potential to connect.”


“When it comes to hitting rock bottom, Joshua Max Feldman is a deft recording angel. Both in his first novel, The Book of Jonah, and now again in Start Without Me, Feldman shines a loving and unsparing light on ordinary persons at the worst moments of their lives.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062668721
ISBN-10: 0062668722
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: October 17th, 2017
Pages: 288
Language: English