A very solid and entertaining novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, of Daisy Jones and the Six recent acclaim. This novel is about a married couple, eleven years into their relationship having met in college, and about 5 or 6 years into their marriage, in a rut. The novel begins with a fight or tense dispute in the Dodgers parking lot that leads to eventual breakdown in their communication and their trust for one another. But the novel takes a long detour into the full body of the relationship, beginning with the energetic and enthusiasm courtship, the loving development of their care and love for one another, and with the gift of dramatic irony, the development of the eventual resentments we as audience members know are coming. As we reach the present, we find the couple deciding, through the specific idea of the husband, to take a year long break that may or may not lead to recoupling or divorce. The whole novel, though, is told through the narrative voice of the wife, who is trying to both piece together the breakup, understand the parameters of that breakup, and realize for the first time that she’s just spent 11 straight years from age 19-30 with the only man she’s ever slept with or been in any kind of serious relationship with.
This is a novel that reads very earnest, despite the fact that the stakes are relatively low. They don’t have kids, finances aren’t restrictively tight, and there’s no specific or additional conflict. This is a novel that suggests that your 20s are tough, and sometimes having that person there in a relationship for all of them, doesn’t always mean that things work out or make sense. The narrative voice is fetching and charming too.