About this book: Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are just eight-years-old when they meet one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenial heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she’s intrigued by the boy who shows up alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy’s taken back to a doctor and Rachel’s sent back to her bed, they think they’ll never see each other again.
Yet, over the next three decades, Andy and Rachel will meet again and again—linked by chance, history, and the memory of the first time they met, a night that changed both of their lives.
A sweeping, warmhearted, and intimate tale, Who Do You Love is an extraordinary novel about the passage of time, the way people change and change each other, and how the measure of a life is who you love.
About the author: Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twelve books, including In Her Shoes, which was made into a major motion picture. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com.
Genre: Fiction/Women’s Fiction
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: R for occasional profanity and explicit sexual content.
[Tweet “Another crowd-pleaser from the pen of the inimitable @JenniferWeiner @SheReadsBookCLB”]
Reflection: Jennifer Weiner is one of those authors whose reputation precedes her. Tucking twelve novels under one’s belt and attaining bestselling status has a way of doing that, I suppose. This was my maiden voyage with Weiner’s work, and I can now certainly understand her great popularity.
I was completely hooked from the start by her sassy, attention-grabbing first chapter (and only momentarily flummoxed by an early fobbing of an f-bomb — which was no doubt the point). Jennifer Weiner’s prose is as smooth and seemingly effortless as you’ll find. I sailed through, carried along by the story’s smart structuring and flawless pacing, with equally well-voiced narration provided in turn by its protagonists, Andy and Rachel.
For my taste, some bits were racier than I prefer, and I had a bit of a hard time loving Andy (for all his many likable qualities) for his inability to keep it in his pants. (At one point, he’s justifying cheating on Rachel in a one-night stand by telling himself he deserves it since at age twenty-something, he’s bedded only seven women.) But I will also say that both characters learn to grow through their shortcomings–and their poor choices do deliver consequences.
I particularly enjoyed the sharp portrayal of Rachel’s Jewishness — shades of Marjorie Morningstar, one of my all-time favorite heroines, who, though dwelling in a far dissimilar era grapples with not-dissimilar problems.
If the ending to Who Do You Love was the teeniest bit of a letdown, I judge that to be the case only because everything that came before it was so masterfully delivered. And also, how else was it going to end? Jennifer Weiner writes about flawed but likable people and the intricacies of relationship in every form in a unique and insightful way that is hard to resist.
Oh, and I love the cover art on this one, and how perfectly it represents the story.
Thanks to She Reads and Washington Square Press for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: It’s been a long time since I’ve read a novel like this one that is all about being a love story. Which love stories — in either film or books — top your list?