Wednesday 27 September 2017

Review Time! - The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

The Idea of You title image

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Title: The Idea of You

Author: Amanda Prowse

Genre: contemporary

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.


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.

Best bits:

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.

I've read reviews that view the ending as too trite and convenient - but I personally think it fits.

It's realistic but hopeful and content - and why the f**k can't it be?! Lucy's certainly worked hard enough to get it, and good for her.

Not so great bits:

corner imagePotentially distressing content includes:

- miscarriages & mental health aftermath (BIG warning)

- teenage pregnancy 

- adoption/forced adoption

- marriage problems

- family dynamic problems

- alcoholism

- 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.


OMG, and I wish these characters would freaking TALK TO EACH OTHER!!!!

That gets really annoying - just communicate dammit!!! Sooo many of your problems would go away if you'd all just let each other know what you're feeling!

But then I suppose we wouldn't have a story. *shrugs*


The other thing about this book is that it's quite a slow read - so those of you looking for an action-packed page-turner should probably be looking elsewhere.

It's good, but you shouldn't expect to whizz through it. It just ain't gonna happen.


I've also seen criticism that this book implies that women need a husband and children to be happy.

I can see where that criticism comes from, but I felt like it was more a case of what Lucy wanted.

That in itself is important, because no, a woman shouldn't need a husband and children, but neither does she need to be alone and childless.

Feminism is about choice - Lucy's is to go down the traditional family route, and this book is about her struggles both with, and within, that role.

You may disagree, of course, and I have no problem with that - it's just the way I saw things. *shrugs*


This one is going to be out of the comfort zones of a lot of people.

If you decide to take the plunge though, you might be surprised at how good this book is.

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  1. Well i’m happy this book surprised you and you enjoyed it! I’ll be honest, I probably wouldn’t pick this up because while I like contemporaries, adult contemps aren’t really my thing but it looks like an emotional read :)

    1. No worries - like I said, it was outside my comfort zone too! :)

  2. Whoa. Sassy Cee Arr is amusing. You used the word "honey" as a sarcastic term of endearment. I liked that particular choice. Um, I don't know, man (you're a man now), that book sounds like a really heavy load. Still, I am SUPER curious about your take on the whole "women's fiction," genre. I don't read much adult fiction (confession: Like rarely do I read that stuff). But, I do agree that women should be allowed in the "literary" genres, and we dispose of the silly "women's fiction" label. Because, let's face it, dudes write fluff and it's just "literary."

    1. Yes! Both genres are fake dammit!!!! XD

      Yeah - it ain't gonna be for everyone. I was glad I gave it a shot though! :)

      Ha, the sass occurs without warning and blows people away ;) Lol!

  3. This sounds really good but I don't know if I can handle the miscarriages. It's weird because I've never had one myself, but since having my kids I'm so emotional! It's so odd! I might just give it a go, I can always stop reading, right?


    1. I don't have kids, so I guess that didn't bother me as much...? *shrugs* Yeah, you can always stop if you want to :) there are no rules! Lol.

  4. I just spotted this one your popular posts widget and recognised I've read this one. Totally agree that Amanda Prowse and female writers like her should be taken more seriously, but I wonder if their publishers feel there's more profit in the women's fiction than literary fiction labels. Maybe release the same books with two cover designs and experiment. Sadly money talks loudest, but I can't see why male readers wouldn't get as much from such stories as female readers do.

    1. Ha, no worries - I actually like it when older posts get comments :) I do wonder why this one is so popular... my popular posts tend to be quite a random collection! XD (Kind of like all my posts then!)

      I feel like the label of women's fiction is too prescriptive - not just with putting off male readers (many would get a lot out of these stories in the same way women can get a lot out of stories about men - though I agree that there's more of a connection with a female audience) but in putting off female readers who don't want to be seen as frivolous. Likewise, I think literary fiction, that other imaginary genre, is too snobbish most of the time.

      I've actually read more Amanda Prowse since trying this one, and I love her writing! She's excellent, and deserves to be taken a lot more seriously.


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