Great Title and Inviting Cover of Stacked Books

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BY THE BOOK is a book that I wanted to love.

Unfortunately, main character Anne Corey is not someone easy to care about.

She remains an insecure, stammering, boring, lame, nervous professor who's selfishly
late for classes and classwork and is stuck in the messy, dirty (yo! = mice and cockroaches?), sloppy, careless college phase...even to the pathetic chipped dishes and
never cleaned up cat hair.

Aside from being an easy lay, what qualities draw Adam and Rick to her?
She and Rick appear to have no real chemistry, so why did he call her his "muse?"

Readers never see either her or Rick in action as teachers - their charisma remains
a total mystery. Similarly, whatever made her book attractive to a publisher is a complete unknown. We simply don't get to read anything except a single sentence.
Both the teaching and her words would give needed depth to the story.

Best gay friend subplot unfunny and predictable. Kids in car were unbearable.
Pig Roast a retro downer.

No friendship with cat except to feed it dry food - cats need wet food to stay healthy.

The emails were a welcome, often funny, break from the tedious plot which
was happily interspersed with fine dialogue.