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Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Paperback – January 9, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
I discovered one of Waldman's mystery books years ago, one set in suburbia with a heroine who managed to set things right in spite of dealing with all the usual distractions of parenting, from car pools to household disasters. I liked the book a great deal as well as the author's writing. I knew very little about the author but I did receive a nice letter from her after I wrote a glowing review of her mysteries.
At the time, I had no idea Waldman was about to be at the center of a controversy, especially after she spilled her guts on her website, "Bad Mommy", writing about suicidal feelings, abortions and other issues which made some parents attack her viciously. You may still be able to see some of her posts at that site, although I believe she is about to end that blog and move on to writing for Salon, the online magazine. At this point in time, she may have moved on to other pursuits.
Controversy aside, I DID like this new book (Love and Other Impossible Pursuits). Many readers may not find the idea of a mistress who steals another woman's husband to be to their liking but it is to Waldman's credit that she doesn't turn away from the messier aspects of life or from presenting characters who are less than noble. Parenthood also is seen as both challenging and, at times, absolutely horrendous. I can relate to that.Read more ›
I enjoyed the evolution of her relationship with the smartest five year old in the world, feeling bad for all parties as they stumbled about. And I kept turning the pages until Emilia got to a really bad place that made her truly human but isolated. I didn't know how Waldman was going to convincingly bring this story to a conclusion, but hats off to her--she movingly pulled off the magic.
Along the way, I hope I've become more compassionate to couples who have lost infants, step-families and really smart five year olds. Next time I see fiction by Ayelet Waldman, I'll pick it. I imagine that like her heroine, she's tough, smart, boldly honest but unlike her heroine, she knows her way around human hearts.
It's all very romantic, right? Maybe not. Emilia's dreamy notions of soulmates and destiny constantly run up against the reality of Jack's intellectually gifted but fragile son William and Jack's brittle, controlling ex-wife. Only when newborn Isabel dies of SIDS does Emilia finally need to confront her expectations for marriage, parenthood and family life. Wallowing in her own grief, Emilia is blind to the suffering of those around her, especially to the suffering she herself inflicts. Her healing process is slow, but before Emilia's journey ends, she'll realize that real love is as much about discipline as it is about destiny, and that magic can be found in the most unexpected places.
Emilia is a sometimes unlikable narrator, self-absorbed, thoughtless, perfectly willing to admit that she can't stand her precocious stepson. She holds grudges against the adults who made her own childhood so difficult, but refuses to admit the role she plays in William's own damaged sense of self and family. Nevertheless, Emilia does have flashes of insight, and she gives voice to troubling thoughts that many mothers have guiltily felt, if not admitted, at some point in their lives.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Privileged people; shallow; neurotic; A wast of time. Read it for a book group.Published 17 days ago by N. Hanson
This book was the most beautifully honest book I have ever read dealing with love and lost. I would recommend this book to anyonePublished 1 month ago by RyannShane Hill
The story held my interest. It isn't a masterpiece, but I really enjoyed the characters and the plot.Published 10 months ago by Barbara M. Goldberg
I thought this book started out pretty descriptive and verbose and I was worried it would be annoying if it continued. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jenna
Waldman is super in touch with Manhattanite moms, nannies, therapists and very precocious NYC kids. Perfect mix of humor, frustration, sadness and painful awarenessPublished 13 months ago by Santamarina
I am now and will remain a complete fan of Ayelet Waldman. This is the third of her books if have read in ten days, and they are marvelous! Why didn't I find her earlier?Published 21 months ago by terrelee
Finally found another great author. Sad, funny, smart and gives you a taste of NYC's Central Park. Great vacation read.Published 22 months ago by Vicki Sherman
A face off with a personal tragedy and the demons in one's soul.
Great story telling and a well laid out human encounters!
Good friend recommended this book but I didn't think it was up to her standards! So, me, me, me… the story could have been broader. I would not recommend it.Published 23 months ago by Judy