My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An emotional read that shows us one woman’s struggles to have a baby in an otherwise “perfect” life.
In The Idea of You, Lucy Carpenter appears to have it all. Nearing forty, she’s now happily married to a wonderful man, Jonah, she has a successful career, and the chance to complete her small family with a baby.
But Lucy and Jonah soon find that having a baby isn’t quite as easy as they thought, and the struggles end up wearing on the two, straining their marriage.
Then, when Jonah’s ex-wife in France contacts him because she’s having a difficult time with their daughter Camille, Lucy and Jonah agree to invite Camille to live with them for the summer in England.
Ideas of bonding with her new step-daughter evaporates as soon as Lucy meets the prickly teen; and she’s then having to contend with the added fissures it brings to her already struggling relationship with Jonah.
And now, it appears that Lucy’s “perfect” life may not be all that perfect after all.
I wasn’t all that interested in this book initially; it seemed too…boring, to be honest. We get to see how Lucy met Jonah, then the early months of their marriage. We also see the couple struggle to have a baby. So I know this book is a contemporary, hence the modern, real life struggles, but I personally was not really interested in reading fiction about everyday life.
At least not at the moment.
But in my quest to finish more NetGalley reads, I continued on and ended up liking it more than I thought I would.
Lucy, I think, is meant to be a complex character, showing all of the emotions a woman may go through when trying to have a baby. We see her happy, hopeful, and then finally, sad. I’ve never had any children myself, so I can’t claim any sort of knowledge when it comes to having them, though I have heard that pregnancy can be harder the older you get, so I’m not very surprised that Lucy is struggling at age 40. Obviously women older than her do get pregnant, but I’m not going to over-analyze the reason a fictional character can’t seem to get pregnant. Also, what about IVF? Just an idea if one is so desperate to have a baby, and it does appear that she has the money to pay for it…
I should move on before I continue to sound even more insensitive…
I loved Jonah, because he was just so understanding and sweet and caring towards Lucy! She literally found the perfect husband!
Okay, so the the perfect man did come with baggage in the form of a teenage daughter, but he’s so good that I almost can forgive him.
Unfortunately for Lucy, Camille makes for the stereo-typical step-daughter from hell.
Lucy does try to welcome Camille, but Camille is not having it. I’d understand it a bit more if she was acting out because she was afraid her father was being taken away from her, but having spent most of her life living in France with her mother and step-father (who she also calls ‘dad’), even Jonah admits they weren’t very close. So I can’t quite understand where all her hostility is coming from. I won’t address this subject further for fear of spoilers, and not wanting to give anything pertinent away.
There’s definitely the sense that a lot of drama could be avoided if people just talked about their problems, but that would be too easy, and this book would be boring otherwise.
Big reveals abound in the last quarter of the book, and this is when I started to genuinely feel emotional reading it. There were some tears, and if a book can move me to cry, then I think it has done its job.
So, though initially slow-moving, I do feel this book did get better, so I will recommend this if you’re interested in a book that will likely have you ranging in emotions.
Thank you to Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.