Grace is a married mother of three. Her youngest, three year old Jack, is terminally ill. She has a background in epidemiology. She also is having an affair with her high school boyfriend. An allegation is made by an unknown party, accusing Grace of Munchhausen’s by proxy – making Jack sick in order to get attention from medical personnel. She is horrified to realize that she does perfectly fit the profile of a MBP mother.
This book was absolutely heartbreaking, but I absolutely adored it. I was flabbergasted to find that the Goodreads reviewers often did not share my opinion. They all hated Grace. This is becoming a thing that I’ve noticed about myself in the course of this year’s reviewing: I love/relate to female protagonists that everyone else hates. I’m not sure what this means, but probably nothing good. Much ado was made about how terrible she was for having an affair, which – yeah, duh. If she was perfect, people would complain that she was a Mary Sue. So yes, she had an affair, which in the context of her circumstances is at least kind of understandable. Obviously half the world disagrees.
I don’t know why I’m so annoyed about it but there you go.
It’s also chock full of sciencey stuff, and a lot of Grace’s areas of knowledge overlapped with mine, so I loved all of the epidemiology references.
Although I did find Noah creepy (someone read this and tell me if you also found Noah creepy – what even is his deal? I know it’s supposed to be romantic that it’s been twenty years but holy shit get a life, man), and the last maybe 1/5 was a little slow, I thoroughly enjoyed it so I’m giving The Life You Longed For a solid 5 stars. Your mileage may vary, but personally, books like this are why I read.
As discussed here, I am going to be adding a content warning at the end of my reviews so that anyone who wants to be aware of certain content can look for that. I will place it at the end so you can skip it if you’d rather, and place it lower if it could be considered spoilery. If there is anything you’d like me to add to the “Things to Warn About” list, no matter how obscure or irrational, please feel more than free to either leave it in a comment or e-mail me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will be more than happy to add it.
Content warning for The Life You Longed For: Child loss, depression, divorce, medical scenarios, profanity, sibling loss, terminal illness.