This is a little different from alottathe* books I read - I tend to get really bored with books which focus on domestic stuff and family life.
But I was invited to review this so *shrugs* - I'll give anything a shot, really.
And you know what? I'm glad that I did.
*It's a word now. Because I said so. #It'sTheRules
Lucy's approaching 40, and she doesn't have it all.
She's got the career - but not a family. And she really, really, wants one.
But there's hope on the horizon in the form of Jonah, who seems perfect for her!
Things aren't plain-sailing though... just as she thinks her hopes of a much-longed-for family are about to come true, tragedy strikes.
And then there's Jonah's daughter from his previous marriage, Camille, who seems to hate Lucy on principle. All of the teenage drama with none of the shared history.
Great. Just great.
If this book were written by a man from the male character's perspective, there's no doubt in my mind that it would be labelled as 'literary.'
Literary, in this blogger's humble opinion, is not a genre. But that's a long-winded rant that we'll skip on this occasion.
The Idea of You, though, having been looked over by one non-existent genre, is pushed into another: 'women's fiction' - which is expected to incorporate both the serious and the fluff under one vague label.
Amanda Prowse is a skilled author.
There's no doubt about that as far as I'm concerned. Her characters are complex, and her prose could easily rival some of the heavy-hitters of 'literary' fiction.
She also brings women and women's issues to the fore in this book. And I think this is the reason she is so often relegated to the realms of 'women's fiction.'
Make no mistake, though: this book takes on hard-hitting issues.
Lucy's devastation at her miscarriages and lost children is painful to read.
Much of the miscarriage aspects of this book are based on the author's own experiences - and ouch. It shows.
The emotional pressure that consumes Lucy after her miscarriages is palpable, made worse by her failure to confide in anyone but Jonah - who has the emotional range of a teaspoon.*
I personally would've liked it if the mental health stuff were further explored, but the feelings themselves were touched on, which was good.
In Jonah's reactions to Lucy (and make no mistake, I hugely disliked Jonah - see next section,) we see society's reactions and ridiculous expectations mirrored.
As far as Jonah's concerned, Lucy should be getting over things quickly.
He makes decisions without consulting her and expects her to be fine with this. He treats her as if she's unreasonable when she disagrees.
She should also be the perfect mother to his daughter despite the fact that she has no experience, and Camille is difficult to get along with.
*Yes, I quoted Harry Potter. #NerdsRule ;)
But the way things tied together - not with a 'and then things were magically OK' attitude, but with a 'f**k it, let's sort this sh** out!' stance, was a pleasant surprise.
- miscarriages & mental health aftermath (BIG warning)
- teenage pregnancy
- adoption/forced adoption
- marriage problems
- family dynamic problems
- familial rejection
My main minus with this book is Jonah. FFS Jonah, have some empathy! Consider someone else for once dammit!!!!
Honestly, if this dude were my husband I would have given him a earful* and moved out pretty damned quick. Either consider her feelings or file for divorce honey - 'cos you don't deserve her.
Honestly, I wanted to slap this guy, and I have no f**king clue why Lucy loved him so much.
*This isn't grammatically incorrect with my accent, so #DealWithIt.
If you decide to take the plunge though, you might be surprised at how good this book is.
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