Book Review: The Idea of You

Book Reviews copy

The Idea of You 1Netgalley Synopsis: With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…

Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all?

Author: Amanda Prowse

Title: The Idea of You

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Date: 2017

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I thought The Idea of You would be a nice change from the fantasy, science-fiction or thriller books that I have been reading. It has good ratings and I thought it would be a nice read.

I was wrong.

The Idea of You had several issues that ruined it for me.

First of all, I strongly feel this book needs a trigger warning. The synopsis indicates the struggle Lucy has with becoming a mother. What it doesn’t hint at, however, was that the reader goes on a journey with Lucy – one which involves three miscarriages. There are numerous women out there to whom this is a sensitive issue and could bring up a turmoil of emotions. A warning is needed to prepare women about the content, and whether they feel comfortable reading about it.

The second big problem is the very niche target audience. Those approaching their forties, possibly unmarried or otherwise, wanting children and unable to have them, may enjoy the story.

As I did not fall into that category, I could not connect with Lucy’s character whatsoever. Yes, I felt for her plight and the emotional trauma she was faced with. But I found her a shallow, self-centred character and I struggled to empathise with her.

This rectangle of fancy card was a reminder that she was losing a race she didn’t know she had entered; she hadn’t heard the starter pistol, and by the time she looked up, everyone she knew of a similar age seemed to be halfway around the track.

The beginning of the novel opens with Lucy being jealous of everyone else, wanting a child and feeling like she can never compete with these women. It didn’t do much to warm me to her.

I had issues with how prematurely she celebrated each conception, especially given her past record. To be knitting baby clothes before the first scan struck me as odd. It became a repetitive cycle – which, of course, might be the reality for some women, but this is a novel – there needs to be something to help you connect to the characters.

Despite her believing the world is against her, Lucy also acts very badly when Jonah’s (her new husband) sixteen-year-old daughter comes to stay. No wonder Camille lashes out – Lucy is patronising as who-knows-what. The constant references to a sixteen/seventeen-year-old being a `little girl` was irritating. This was especially annoying when it is Camille’s mature advice that makes Lucy rethink her own life choices!

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Lucy hides a big secret from Jonah. I could relate to how it was instilled in her to be kept a secret, but even this I wasn’t sure about. Her assumption that she should be nothing but supportive because it has been hard for her leaves no room for his feelings – i.e. his wife lied to him about something major!

The pacing was slow for the majority of the book and despite being a shrewd businesswoman, we never see that side of Lucy, only the side that is an emotional wreck. The reader needs to witness her strengths in order to feel for her in moments of weakness.

As this implies, I had huge issues with the way the story was told and the characterisations. Take that away, and what have you got left?

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