“I am finishing up dinner with my family and my fiancé when my husband calls…”
Do you ever read a book and know that you’re reading it at the exact moment in your life when you needed to read it? Because that is me with One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I know a three star rating doesn’t seem that high, but the message of this book spoke louder to me than maybe any other book this year. The universe really lined up for me with this one.
The basic premise of this story, that I’m sure you all have heard many times before, is that it is about a girl who fell in love at first sight, freshman year of high school, with a boy and she ends up marrying him. They grew up together in a very small town in Massachusetts, but together they traveled the world and set up home base in California. She thought she was living the happiest life that she could, until he goes missing in a helicopter crash and is presumed dead.
She then moves back to her small hometown, and begins to run her family’s bookstore. And two years after the love of her life was lost, she falls in love with a boy she has also known almost her entire life. And for the first time in a long time, she is happy. That is, until the missing husband is officially declared alive.
➽ Emma – The woman torn between two men.
➽ Jesse – The missing husband.
➽ Sam – The fiancé.
But once Jesse comes back into Emma’s life, she realizes that she isn’t the same girl anymore. She’s 31 and feels a lot differently about her life than she did at 21. And friends, that is the real reason this book is extremely hard for me to review. I’ve never been married, and I’ve never had a partner presumed dead *knocks on wood forever*, but Emma’s life really reminds me of my own.
This book handles such an important and not talked about discussion on how you want different things at different points in your life. And, I’m being really honest here, this is something that I’m currently struggling with. I was born and raised in Michigan, where all my family still live, but I knew I never wanted to stay. After college, I moved to a big city on the west coast, I am still able to travel a lot, and I don’t have to check in with anyone. But the past few years, as I’m getting older, I’m really thinking about wanting a family, and maybe moving back to the east coast to be closer to my family (and to have seasons, I really miss seasons!) I feel like I’m probably not alone in this, but life just goes so damn fast and I’m so scared I’m going to let something pass me by, but seeing Emma be the person she wanted to be a 31, not 21, was really moving and emotional to me. Like, more emotional than any kind of sad love triangle could be. So again, this is a hard book to rate.
“People aren’t stagnant. We evolve in reaction to our pleasures and our pains.”
I did enjoy this story though, and I won’t say any spoilers, but she did get with the guy that I wanted her to pick! I will say that she does have sex with both men, during very short in-between periods, but I feel like it was done very realistically, and it didn’t bother me at all. Yet, again, it did bother many of my friends, so use caution. Also, content and trigger warnings for underage drinking, thoughts of suicide, loss of a loved one, depression depiction, grief depiction, PTSD depiction, grey area cheating, and talk of cancer.
Besides this book impacting me way more than any romantic contemporary should, my favorite part of this book was Emma’s best friend, Olive, who is bisexual, half Korean and half Jewish, and just kept proving that she was such an amazing friend who really unconditionally loved Emma. I also really loved Emma’s parents and I thought they were very realistic and heartwarming. I even enjoyed Emma’s journey with his sister, Marie, even if it made me a little sad at times. Oh, and I loved the inclusion of Marie’s twins (Emma’s nieces) who were hearing impaired and used ASL. Taylor Jenkins Reid always makes me books very inclusionary and I very much appreciate it.
“I think I’m heading into a time in my life where words and labels will lose their meaning. It will only be the intent behind them that will matter.”
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I loved the messages of people changing and living the life they want to at whatever time in their life they want to live it. I’m sorry if I was a little too personal in this post; but if you feel similarly to the way I’m feeling, or to the way Emma felt – I promise you aren’t alone.