- Hardcover: 390 pages
- Publisher: Pocket; First Printing edition (2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385259522
- ISBN-13: 978-0385259521
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.4 x 6.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,189,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First Time Hardcover – Import, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
There are moments of stunning and surprising pure beauty. Many times, I had to stop reading, put the book down and take a breather. Other times I had to go back and re-read a scene several times, unable to absorb it all the first time, or maybe just reluctant to let the moment pass. This book is "that" good.
The story revolves around the family of Mattie, Jake and Kim; their laughter, tears and fear. You fall in love with them, follow all of their daily actions and thoughts, never becoming bored or uninterested in a single detail. Mattie is in a seemingly unhappy and trapped marriage, her husband seeks comfort in other women, and their daughter Kim is struggling with being 15 and growing up. When Mattie finds she is stricken with ALS, a fatal disease, it changes everyone's perspective and lives. Somehow, they must figure out all their feelings for one another while time is running out.
I must say this is the best book I've read in a long time, and I don't imagine another one to take its place for awhile. This book is powerful, graceful, touching and real. I can't give it high enough marks. It is a novel that must be read. I couldn't put it down until I reached the last page, late into the evening. Read it now, and you won't be disappointed.
You will be completely involved in Mattie Hart's life from the opening line when she is thinking of ways to kill her philandering husband to the unthinkable request she makes of her mother. You will be struck by the inner strength this woman brings to her life as well as to that of her family and deeply touched by the graphic description of a terminal illness.
Jake Hart, her husband, is an interesting creation. He doesn't love his wife, never has. He only married her because she was pregnant and Jake always likes to do the right thing. He constantly cheats on Mattie throughout their sixteen years of marriage and has never said "I love you" to her. So what's to like about a man like this? Amazingly, Fielding is able to present a side of Jake that touches every emotional note and leaves you rooting for this multi-faceted character.
From a comical steak-throwing spree in a Chicago grocery store to a wildly romantic chase through a Paris airport, Mattie and Jake's story will leave you breathless. Add to the mix their daughter Kim who is experiencing her first sexual misadventure and Mattie's mother who could never love her daughter like she needed to be loved.
THE FIRST TIME explores the ties that bind and the power of love to overcome the deepest wounds people can inflict upon one another. Inspiring and highly emotional, this book is one that touches the heart with its realism and poignant moments.
When Mattie discovers Jake's most recent infidelity she realizes that things have to change. Jake also wants a change in his life, he has decided to leave his wife and daughter and move in with his girlfriend. Mattie is ready to move on with her life when she receives the devastating news that she has ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease. Upon hearing this Jake decides to move back in with Mattie and Kim. It is then that he discovers that the only true way to find one another and fall in love is to communicate. Jake has had an abusive upbringing, something of which he has told Mattie very little about. Mattie herself has had to deal with a broken home and a father who walked away.
It is during their time together now that Jake realizes his true feelings for Mattie. He falls in love with her for the first time. Ironically for Mattie, it becomes the best of times and the worst of times.
Joy Fielding does a great job of delving into the relationships in this book. Everyone has their own demons to confront and the family does manage to draw together in their time of crisis. Unfortunately I was all too aware of the horrible effects of ALS, as a family member has recently passed away with this. Fielding deals with its consequences realistically.
Since reading this book I am anxious to start her newest release. She has proven herself a wonderful storyteller.
Mattie Hart has spent almost 16 years playing wife to hot-shot defense attorney Jake Hart ~~ quietly ignoring the signs of his numerous affairs. She raised their daughter, the reason why they got married, Kim as best as she could. Not saying that Mattie is the perfect wife or mother ~~ she has made some mistakes in her lifetime as well ~~ but when she found out she was stricken with ASL or Lou Gehrig's disease, her whole world tumbled. Jake had already moved out and started living with his newest paramour ~~ only to move home to take care of Mattie. And this is their story. Theirs and Kim's.
Families aren't always strong as it appears to the public ~~ Jake Hart's glowing image got tarnished throughout the story as he struggled with issues related to his marriage and childhood. Ultimately, he decided on one course and saw it to the end ~~ much to Mattie's great surprise. Kim, usually the perfect beautiful daughter, gets in trouble constantly at school or at home ~~ unable to totally understand what is really going on in her life and with her mother. She comes to realization later on as well ~~ accepting the fact that they all are human. Mattie ~~ the star of this book manages to live her life and lies gracefully ~~ though the disease ravaged her body. Some of the dreams she had never known she had held managed to come to the surface ~~ and she learns to deal with them as well as the fact that she is dying.
This book strikes a chord in this reader's heart.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most amazing books I've ever read! I read it in one night lol. It was too great to put down!Published 13 months ago by Hillary
I first read this a few years ago. Re-read it over the past couple of days and found it even better than the first time I read it. Read morePublished 13 months ago by SFReader
First this is the saddest story I have ever read. Even the movie "Titanic" wasn't this heart breaking. Read morePublished on December 13, 2012 by retired to read
Joy Fielding has been, for a long time now, my very favorite author regarding novels/thrillers! If you get this fantastic book, be prepared to be glued to each and every page. Read morePublished on October 12, 2012 by Elizabeth Read
I read this book ten years ago and it is still unforgettable. I have read many of joy fieldings book since then. A must read!Published on May 25, 2012 by Roxygrlj
This book is surprisingly good. It is well-written, the characters are well-developed and the plot is very real and believable. Read morePublished on December 20, 2011 by seldombites
This is the first Joy Fielding book I have read. I really liked it. I'm surprised at that since I don't like books that don't end happy. Read morePublished on May 11, 2011 by Kathleena
I read this book a few years ago, and still think of it today as one of the most touching,
amazing,thought provoking,books i have ever read. Read more