Monday, February 15, 2016

Who do you love by Jennifer Weiner

3 Star

Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she's intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy's taken back to the emergency room and Rachel's sent back to her bed, they think they'll never see each other again.

Rachel, the beloved, popular, and protected daughter of two doting parents, grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation.

Over the course of three decades, through high school and college, marriages and divorces, from the pinnacles of victory and the heartbreak of defeat, Andy and Rachel will find each other again and again, until they are finally given a chance to decide whether love can surmount difference and distance and if they've been running toward each other all along.

Kathryn - 3 Star

Who Do You Love is written with two voices, one male and one female, their voices alternating throughout the novel.

I felt Rachel was a typical child despite her medical issues. She obviously had somewhat overprotective parents but this was to be expected given her fragile heart and her lack of strength due to many hospital visits and surgeries. As a teenager she also behaved as I would expect:  often selfish, a bit sneaky and then regretful of some of her behaviour.  As an adult I was actually less interested in her story but more proud of her as a person- as if I’d watched my own child grow up- and was really hoping her life would come together Rachel had grown to be caring of others and I hoped that someone would turn around and care for her back. 

Andy was the more intense childhood story, he interested me less as a teenager and I found him most frustrating as an adult.  He didn’t really have a path to follow and it showed when things turned badly for him and his career. His relationship with his mother gave me much food for thought though. It was obviously unsteady but throughout the whole novel I think his mother did her best. I wished that she’d been more honest with him.  

Perhaps it’s typical that two people, no matter how much they love each other, will often find ways to mess up their relationship!  Sometimes you can pull it back and move on and other times to have to cut your losses. I don’t think the ending will be a surprise to many but I was pleased by it!  What appeals most about a novel by Jennifer Weiner is the depth of her character exploration and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed, even if they don’t much care for Rachel and Andy.

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

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