I don’t specifically remember the first time I read this book, but that could be because I’ve read it at least once a year since then–at this point, that’s ten or more rereads. This is my favorite book.
It’s the story of Rebecca, a fifty-something widow, who at a family picnic one day sort of “wakes up” and realizes she has no idea how she turned into the person that she’s become. She runs a party planning business out of her home, attempts to corral her large family (I’ve read reviews that complain about how selfish and unpleasant her adult daughters are, but I like them and they remind me of me and my sister, and also of my mom and her sisters, so maybe we’re all terrible people), and is one of those jolly, “ain’t we got fun?” types. But she didn’t use to be–before she met her husband, she was quiet, studious, and engaged-to-be-engaged to her childhood sweetheart. How, she wonders, did my life swerve onto this path?
While I love the characters and the story, the central questions at the heart of this book are my favorite thing about it. What if I had made a different choice, and my life had turned out completely different than it is now? Am I living the life I am supposed to be living? I think a lot of us can look back on one moment, or maybe a couple moments, where we made a decision and the course of our lives were changed forever. Did we do the right thing? Is this where we’re supposed to be?
I can’t be objective about this book, because I love it too much. I won’t name a single criticism because I can’t stand to think it has any. I adore this book. I adore anyone who adores this book. Is it great literature? I dunno. It just makes me happy.