Monday, September 12, 2016

(79)Modern Lovers by Emma Straub


Elizabeth, Zoe, and Andrew have been friends since they attended college together in Ohio and had a band together, Kitty's Mustache. Another friend, and bandmate, of theirs Lydia, went on to be a star, using the song Elizabeth wrote to propel her to superstardom.  Tragically, Lydia overdosed at the age of twenty-seven, leaving their fame in the past.  Now it is more than twenty years later and Elizabeth and Andrew are married with a teenage son, Harry.   They live in the same neighborhood as Zoe, her wife Jane, and their daughter Ruby.   A movie producer has been coming around trying to get them to sign away the rights to their story for a movie about Lydia.  It stirs up all the old memories from those days.  Zoe and Jane are struggling to keep their marriage together.   Andrew and Elizabeth are struggling with the day-to-day routines of marriage and the ruts a couple who have been together so long are known to fall into.  Then there is Ruby and Harry.  They basically grew up together, but now that they are teenagers, and they are exploring the nuances of teen love.   The three couples are faced with the same questions, the same troubles, the same decisions that all couples have to face at some time or another.  Will the three different couples be able to work through the problems and come through the other side intact?

Modern Lovers was an intricate story with six main characters and many different layers.  The kind of intricacy that you come to expect when people have known each other for decades.  The history between Elizabeth, Zoe, Andrew, and Lydia had many layers to it, too.   Some of  their story  isn't even known to all of them until almost the end of the book.  And that revelation has major implications for all of them.   I loved the new romance between Harry and Ruby.  They were such opposites, that I found their romance to be adorable.  Harry was this dorky, awkward kid.  While Ruby was this exotic beauty. And together they  were adorable.  Of all of them, Andrew was my least favorite character.  He was - I don't know - flaky?  Inconsiderate?  I felt like he didn't deserve Elizabeth.    I was pleased with the way the story ended.  I always love it when an author does an epilogue with updates on characters years down the road.  It leaves me feeling as if the story is truly complete.

Bottom line - Modern Lovers spent most of the summer on everybody's "Must Read" list and know I understand why.   Emma Straub has written an intelligent, entertaining read about relationships and what it means to grow up.   Definitely worthy of being on the "Must Read" list.

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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