One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published on June 7th, 2016
| Review |
As the title indicates, this is a review with SPOILERS GALORE, so if you don’t want them, **WARNING: STOP HERE.**
To say that this book was a disappointment would be a massive understatement. I thought for sure going into One True Loves that I was in for a roller coaster of a ride. And to be fair, there were some things I liked about this book. I loved the instant click between high school Emma and Jesse, how they were so quick to bond about getting out of Acton and away from the expectations of their parents when they had different plans for the future. I liked the references to pop culture from their day, like Smashing Pumpkins and Natalie Imbruglia. I also liked Jesse and Sam, Emma’s ‘love interests,’ but my list of likes stops with Emma. I really wanted to like her, and I tried hard not to judge her because her situation was so unique and devastating. But I couldn’t help it. Even though the time she spent making her decision wasn’t long (which is another matter entirely that I had issues with,) I felt like for that short amount of time, she wanted to have her cake and eat it, too. I especially did not care for the way her grief stages were written at all. It was very choppy sounding, and it felt more like a manual than Emma’s actual account of her own grief. I also thought it very odd that she reverted to her maiden name when she came out of her grief. I would have understood if they’d had a rocky marriage, but they were crazy about each other, and in the end, it felt like a plot device used to give them something to argue about later in the story than something authentic to Emma’s character. And then, when Jesse does reappear, it’s almost like she was punishing him for not knowing who she was now. It was all about her, and felt like she gave no consideration for what Jesse went through. I feel like Emma made her decision between Sam and Jesse very hastily, and I don’t feel like she really gave Jesse, her husband, a chance to get to know her, nor did she care to get to know him.
This was a second chance love story in many ways. Emma with Jesse’s reappearance, and Emma with Sam when it was clear he’d had a crush on her so many years before. Sam was so charming with his awkward ways, and Jesse, too, in a more direct way. It was hard to know who to root for, because both men were so kind and adored Emma. Thought I can’t for the life of me figure out why. I hated the thought of either of them being unhappy, but on the other hand, I thought they both deserved someone who had more respect for them than Emma did. I wish both men had taken the choice away from her and left, but that’s not what happened. I found the end incredibly unsatisfying, and with Emma’s characterization, there is nothing that could have saved it for me except a different protagonist. I think the idea of this story was wonderful. The execution, however, was lacking.
Narrator: This book was narrated by Julia Whelan, and I think she did a fantastic job. She even did a decent job with the men’s voices, which can be hit or miss for me with a female performer.