Friday, March 21, 2014

The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson

4.5 Star

Jonathan and Rosie have been together so long they finish each other’s sentences—so when he (finally) proposes and asks her to move across the country with him, everyone is happily surprised.

But when things suddenly unravel, Rosie sends Jonathan packing and moves back home with Soapie, the irascible, opinionated grandmother who raised her. Only now she has to figure out how to fire Soapie’s very unsuitable caregiver, a gardener named Tony who lets her drink martinis, smoke, and cheat at Scrabble.

It’s a temporary break, of course—until Rosie realizes she’s accidentally pregnant at 44, completely unequipped for motherhood, and worse, may be falling in love with the sentimental, troubled Tony, whose life is even more muddled than hers. 

It’s not until Rosie learns the truth about her mother’s tragic story that she wonders if sometimes you have to let go of your fears, trusting that the big-hearted, messy life that awaits you may just be the one you were meant to live.

Kathryn - 4.5 Star

The Opposite of Maybe was a definite creeper for me- at first I found the voice a bit tricky to warm to but that niggle soon faded away as I got hooked on the Rosie’s predicaments and Jonathan’s contradictions.  I had difficulty in seeing these two people together so when they separated I was secretly pleased, though neither of them seemed content with the decision.

The central force of the novel was that Rosie was fighting herself most of the time. With the exception of Jonathan, those around her were always trying to get her to move past her own hurdles and therefore forward in her own life. Her grandmother Soapie was vocal and pushy about it and Tony was gentle and inspiring about it.  I’m not sure if Dawson intended us to like Jonathan or not?  I didn’t care for him much as I just couldn’t see past his selfishness. While I grasped that Rosie’s circumstances rather changed the goal posts on their relationship I felt he was completely unconcerned about Rosie’s new situation. With Jonathan intent on his ancient teacup collection we were perhaps meant to view him as cerebral and not oblivious but I didn’t go for it I’m afraid.  No one is that engrossed in teacups to allow their partner (that they say they love) to be alone.

Now apart from Rosie & Jonathan, the continuing saga, there were some complex and fascinating relationships that evolved in this book. I was surprised about almost all of them and loved each one. Even the once-removed personalities were greatly defined. Tony’s ex-wife and her new partner for example were clear as day to me and made the book circle in on itself so everything was tightly woven and felt warm.

I loved Tony- I think if you don’t then you’ve missed The Opposite of Maybe entirely.  I was actually really surprised how much I liked this novel and would probably even re-read it.

Thank you to Broadway Books for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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