I know what you’re thinking. Romance? That isn’t high-brow literature!
When I was making the 2017 reading list for my book club, I wanted to cover all genres – so this was my pick for the “chick lit” category. Boy was I shocked to discover that Taylor Jenkins Reid is actually a pretty great author. One True Loves probably isn’t her most popular novel, but I decided this story would make for the best discussion! (Go ahead and roll your eyes. I am used to it.) My particular reading group was eager to read something a little lighter after struggling through The Light Between Oceans.
Going in, I thought it was just another love triangle story. But it’s about more than deciding who to love – it’s about deciding who you are. Emma has to decide which life she wants. This book was more about her journey of self-discovery. And Oh! was it a journey.
So, in this story, we see Emma changed by tragedy. When she married Jesse, she dreamt about the world and wanted to get as far away from her family and her hometown as she could. But when she loses her husband, she just wants to return and after a few years, makes a choice to move on. (I reduced that down considerably, as the book goes into great detail about her grieving process.) I told my reading group that I pictured her as Helen Hunt in the movie Castaway. Remember the scene in the end of the movie when Tom Hanks meets Helen Hunt on the tarmac and it’s so unbearable to watch? That is where this story picks up. This book shows the woman left behind instead of the castaway. We never see that side of the story in the movie. It is an incredibly emotional ride, as well as super uncomfortable. When her husband walks back into her life, her new love leaves her to allow her to deal with the impossible. (WOW. The agony.)
To be honest, if I had to make that kind of decision, I’d probably just roll over and die. I am horrible with that level of decision-making. (It’s like trying to choose between a really delicious dessert or a rich and savory filet mignon. I want both!) But, we all know that’s not how life works. So, the writer takes us through her discovery process in such a way that makes you feel like you are going through this along with her. This is talent, folks! I did not expect to garner such a deep response to this book. There are so many wonderful excerpts throughout the book that I ended up breaking one of my personal rules and actually underlined and marked my favorites. (Gasp!)
I will recommend this book to other “chicks”. Actually, I think it’d make a great vacation read! I plan to pick up more by this author this summer. I also heard it’s great on audiobook, so if that’s your thing, give it a try.
Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Our wine selection this meeting was a literary themed red blend appropriately named, “Once Upon a Vine” I happened to find this at my local liquor store! Who would’ve thought?