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Love and Other Natural Disasters Paperback – January 8, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eve is grateful for the family and friends that surround her Thanksgiving table, including her husband, Jonathon; their five-year-old son, Jacob; and a baby due to make its arrival in a few short weeks. But in this predictable second novel from Shumas (Five Things I Can't Live Without), Eve's idyll gets trashed when a phone call interrupts their holiday dinner and exposes Jonathon's too-cozy friendship with another woman. What turns out to be an emotional affair launches a maelstrom of emotions for both Eve and Jon, neither of whom realized how much their marriage had disintegrated. As they struggle to work things out, they learn a lot about themselves and each other. Throughout the novel, Shumas, a therapist, invites the reader to consider the question—is it cheating if nothing physical happens? Shumas relies heavily on the standard marriage-in-trouble arc (separation, his disheveled bachelor apartment, her ill-fated fling), and readers familiar with the formula will know what to expect. (Jan.)
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Review

For FIVE THINGS I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT:
"Smart sharply written, and very, very funny. This is a gem of a book."
--Whitney Gaskell, author of PUSHING 30
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: 5 Spot (January 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446504777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446504775
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,301,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By skrishna VINE VOICE on January 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Love and Other Natural Disasters is an incredibly thought-provoking book that will leave the reader pondering long after the novel is finished. It's a great question, especially for those who are in a serious relationship or are married: what constitutes betrayal? Does it have to be physical? Of course it's okay for your partner to have friends of the opposite sex. If there is no physical element, when does that friendship turn into something more? Where is that line? When exactly does it become betrayal? Can emotional straying actually be worse than physical?

These are great questions that are especially relevant in today's computer age. And I have to say, I had some trouble making up my mind as to whether Eve was completely justified in her anger. I don't argue that a relationship doesn't have to be physical; emotional betrayal is completely possible and is a serious issue. But I just wasn't sure how to respond to Jon's betrayal and Eve's response in the novel. Sometimes I thought she was totally justified; other times I felt like she was being cruel and petty. I think this is purposeful on the part of the author. She does a great job demonstrating that there were underlying issues in Jon and Eve's marriage that led to the betrayal. It's no use trying to tackle the betrayal issue if you don't face the other problems as well.

The author is a therapist by day, and it really shows in her characters. They are all well-developed and fully realized, but they aren't perfect. They act like normal humans; when Jon hurts Eve, she lashes out at him. She doesn't mean to be cruel, but it's a standard reaction. I appreciated this in Love and Other Natural Disasters. The conflicts weren't created in order to move the plot along and add length to the book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
I just had a really hard time swallowing the whole premise of the book - that a so-called emotional affair is just as bad or maybe worse than a typical affair - at least from the perspective of women when their husbands are at fault. I just don't really believe that to be the case. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but if I found out my husband was sleeping with someone else I'd be *much* more upset than if I found out he was oversharing with some woman over email and phone. Felt love for her? OK, but that is not all that threatening really. Just sex or sex with love? Something else entirely. I thought the main character Eve blew it all so out of proportion. She was such a hag, seriously. Her husband Jon was kind of a clueless wimp. And in the end, supposedly the whole deep-seated reason for Eve's anger at Jon (which drove him to eventually have his emotional affair with another woman) was that after a surprise pregnancy he didn't even ask if she wanted to keep the baby! I mean, how dare he! At one point he asked her if it even counted for anything that he hadn't actually slept with this other woman Laney, that he had turned her down when she made a pass at him. Heck yeah that counts for something to any normal woman! But not to Eve, who then turns around at the end and actually does sleep with another man - hello double standard. I couldn't understand what her deal was the entire book - she was a whiny hag and I'm surprised her husband didn't dump her and hook up with that other woman after all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader on July 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to really think about how I would rate this book. I really loved the first half of the book. I'd probably give it 4 stars. I understood the feeling of betrayal that the h felt. I loved how the H was instantly contrite with enough cluelessness to leave room for angst. I loved that he was willing to do anything to get his marriage to survive. I also loved that the h blew off all the people that told her that she shouldn't feel so angry or that she should forgive the H's transgressions easily. Usually h's don't stick to their guns and I really liked that this h did.

Strong h's like this one are very hard to find in romance books. For this reason I really wanted to like this book but that last half of the book was...just...well...horrible. Arguably, this is a cheating book but the plot centered more around the journey to healing that the h traveled rather than the rebuilding of the relationship between the H and the h. The story between the H and the h ran parallel to each other but intersected very few times in the book for me to really see the love and devotion that they were trying to rekindle. There were a lot of things in the book, like the h's mother's love story, that I didn't care about. I would have rather seen more romantic, trust building moments between the H and h. Quiet frankly, I agree with the BFF at the end of the book. I thought the H and h were soul mates at the start of the book but by the end I was hoping that they would just cut their losses and walk away just for the mental health of their kids. The H went from a "I am sorry, this is all on me, I'll do anything you need" attitude to a "you were too angry that I betrayed you, your taking too long, how dare you don't trust me, I don't even know if I even want to be with you" attitude.
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