Audiobook Review: Down and Out in Bugtussle by Stephanie McAfee

Posted September 25, 2013 by Felicia S in 2.50 Wine Glasses, 2013 Read, Audiobook, Reviews / 14 Comments

Audiobook Review: Down and Out in Bugtussle by Stephanie McAfeeSource: Audiobook Review, Provided by Tantor

Format: Audiobook

Down and Out in Bugtussle by Stephanie McAfee
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins

Date Read: September 2013

Genre: Chick-Lit, General Fiction

When her dream life in Florida with her now-ex-fiancΓ© goes south, so does Ace β€” she moves back home to Bugtussle, Mississippi, and into her late Gramma Jones' little house. But even though her best friends, Lilly and Chloe, are thrilled that she's returned home, not everything is smooth sailing. Ace wants her job back as art teacher at the high school, but the beautiful Cameron Becker has no plans to relinquish that position. Although Ace wants to run Miss Becker out of town, she accepts a job as a substitute teacher. On top of her job woes, Ace's friends keep setting her up on blind dates when all she really wants is for people to stop meddling in her love life.

In her quest to find inner peace, Ace takes up gardening and discovers old love letters in her grandmother's well-worn gardening book. With her faithful chiweenie, Buster Loo, by her side, Ace is determined to get to the bottom of her Gramma's secret life, all while hoping her own doesn't implode.

More Information:
Publisher: NAL, Tantor
Series: Mad Fat Girl #3

My Thoughts on


Listened for Review (Tantor Audio)
Down and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness by Stephanie McAfee
Overall Rating: 2.50
Story Rating: 3.00
Character Rating: 2.00

Audio Rating: 4.00 (not part of the overall rating)

First Thought when Finished: Ace is just not my kind of gal. We just didn’t connect which happens occasionally.

NOTE: Let me admit that I have not read the first two in the series and I think that is where my disconnect with the story/characters came from. If you are already a fan of Ace then I have heard that this is a fantastic addition to the series. Please go read other people’s reviews too. I am in the minority in not liking it very much.

Story Thoughts: I thought Down and Out in Bugtussle was a bit of quirky fun. There really wasn’t much of a point to the story but the shenanigans were delightful. It really made me wonder if all school teaching staffs had that much fun regularly (and drama) or if it was just these quirky ladies. Otherwise, my biggest complaint was I couldn’t quite figure out what the point of the story was. There were a few times when things were so over the top (Ace’s reactions mostly) and I just couldn’t quite figure out why. I think it might have been where she was a character but to a person coming in late to the series, it just didn’t make sense.

Character Thoughts: Let’s start with the side characters since I really liked them. I thought the other substitute was fantastic in a throw-back to the 80s kind of way. She was funny, odd, and unique! I loved her car, big hair, and love of 80s rock. I also found Ace’s two best friends to be likable. Sure they were a little dramatic but each had big things going on so it was understandable. Ace *sigh* oh how I wish I liked you better. She had moments of pure delight but then she would go over the top mean on someone. She didn’t come across sassy instead it was more brash to me. The TSA agent verbal smack down in the story was the last straw for me. As I said, it might just be where she was as a character but it just wasn’t a very likable trait.

Audio Thoughts:

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell / Length 9 hrs and 43 mins

Cassandra is one of my favorite narrators. She is fun, quirky, and really knows how to deliver a line. In fact, she may have made me like the book a little more than I would have on my own. She did give the women in the series a lot of sass and brass! Her narration fit perfectly with the story.

Final Thoughts: On a whole, I think fans of the Bridget Jones series would really like the Mad Fat Girl series. Ace didn’t work for me but I know she is delightful for many of my friends. Please give her a try if you like fun, quirky leading ladies.



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14 responses to “Audiobook Review: Down and Out in Bugtussle by Stephanie McAfee

  1. There is a fine line between snark and mean, it sounds like Ace came off wrong. This does sound funny though, I would be interested in reading reviews from people who have read the series..maybe Ace grows on you..or you understand her better? Wonderful review Felicia!

    • Heidi loved this series and so did most other people who read it. I didn’t click with Ace but I could see her coming off totally likable to most people. I think maybe it is she reminded of someone I am not particularly fond of. It took until after the book was done for me to realize that though πŸ˜‰

  2. I am sorry you didn’t enjoy this more. I have been with the series since the first book was an indie gem so I get it more. I didn’t like the second book at all. It pretty much goes nowhere. You are right, though, there really isn’t much plot with this book or any of them, it is mostly Ace’s sheningans and she does make me laugh. I like that she stands up to buillies!

    • Oh I did enjoy Bugtussle and all of her friends. I am glad you got me to read it and I have to say that I think I would have liked Ace more if I knew her back story. I mean there may have been a very good reason she was the way she was πŸ™‚ I think she reminded me a little too much of a person I know who I just can’t be around because everything is dramatic πŸ˜‰ That is not Ace’s fault!

    • They were quirky and the plot I think was there but it really didn’t gell till about 80% done. Or the plot began at 80%, I am not sure which. Either way, it was a fun read and Ace will be liked by most other people!

  3. Now you have me curious as to what kind of shenanigans the teaching staff had in this story! (Even though it was more like a tale without a real “story” to it…)