Publication date: June 2016
Review, short version: Skunks; as many as I could fit in the space.
Review, long version:
As I sat down to write this, I was rubbing my hands in glee.
This is a truly awful book, and I couldn’t wait to rip it to shreds.
The lead character, Ella, is the worst.
And it’s too bad, because the plot line of The Idea of Love is semi-original: Girl meets boy, both lie their heads off, build on those lies and then tell new ones.
It’s a pathological liars match made in Heaven.
Since the story comes from Ella’s point of view, let’s focus on her. For starters, it’s clear early on that she has:
- A Bachelor’s Degree in whining.
- A Master’s degree in lying
- A Ph.D. in playing the victim.
We also learn early on that Sims, Ella’s perfect husband of seven years, is having an affair with Ella’s best friend’s sister Betsy.
How do we learn this?
Sims tells Ella.
And not only that, Sims tells Ella that he’s in love, and want to marry Betsy.
And what does Ella do?
Does she point toward the front door and shout, “Get out! I’m calling my lawyer! You lying, cheating…
Does she rush to the kitchen, open the refrigerator door, pull out the dish of leftover poulette chasseur avec haricot verts (Sims’ favorite), head into the garage, open the door to Sims’ BMW M6 Gran Coupe, and dump the contents in the driver’s seat while yelling, “Take that, you…
Does she run upstairs, open the bedroom window and start throwing Sims’ clothes onto the front lawn, the whole while screaming, “And here’s your favorite tie, to go with this (tossing out more clothes) suit I picked out for you, and this (left shoe) and I always hated those shoes, you…
Instead, it is Sims’ who packs Ella’s suitcase. Ella slinks out the front door, ending up in a crappy one-room furnished apartment, brooding endlessly about – could she have been more inventive in bed? Cooked better meals? Done Pilates? Bought more bohemian clothes like the girlfriend wears? etc.
Did I mention Ella has no spine?
It gets worse.
Eventually we learn that Sims has become conflicted. He’s wondering if he’s made a mistake. So Sims, Betsy and Ella come to an arrangement of sorts:
Ella moves back into their home, but only for a week. Then Ella goes back to the crappy apartment and Betsy moves into the house for a week. Repeat process.
Or as the author put it, a “week-on-week-off arrangement…a man staying put while two women rotated in and out of his life.”
Throughout all this rotating, Ella still has plenty of time for lying, whining and playing the victim. Page 195: “Everyone, I mean everyone, is taking advantage of me.”
But finally, finally, around page 220 (out of 239 pages), Ella begins to grow some spine.
But it’s way too little and much too late and…
Ella was an irredeemable waste of oxygen, and the book an irretrievable waste of paper.
Ah…that was fun.