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Someone Else's Love Story: A Novel (P.S.) Kindle Edition

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Length: 321 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews Review

Author One-on-One: Christina Baker Kline and Joshilyn Jackson

Christina Baker KlineJoshilyn Jackson

Christina Baker Kline is a novelist, nonfiction writer, and editor. Her novels include Orphan Train and Bird in Hand. She lives in an old house in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, and three boys.

Christina Baker Kline: Your characters seem to have broken the "rule" that men and women can't be friends. Do you think this is possible only in novels?

Joshilyn Jackson: You might be asking the wrong person. When I was nineteen, I met a gangly, dark-haired, geeky guy with big feet and a weird sense of humor. He quickly became my dearest friend. In those days, I would have said, “Of course they can!”

Seven years later? He’d grown into the big feet and become one helluva man. Reader, I married him. Twenty years and two kids later, I still like him best.

The man/woman thing is powerful, and it can be so sneaky. Attraction can grow between the most unlikely pairings, given time and shared experiences and discovered connections. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s a risk. Better not to mess around with it if you’re sure you do not want it. You can’t get sex back to sleep once it’s good and woken.

Someone Else’s Love Story has two sets of man/woman best friends, and I didn’t want attraction to intrude on the dynamics. I tried several ways to remove it entirely from both equations, but it didn’t work until I attacked sex where it is most powerful—in its mystery. I took away wondering and speculation; both pairs of friends have already had sex with each other before the novel begins.

Men and women can’t get around sex, true, but I thought perhaps these two friend-pairs had elected to move through it. Through it, and into something else.

CBK: This is a story about family and friendship, truth and secrets, and love. But it is not necessarily a love story. Do you think that on some level all stories are love stories?

JJ: Yes. Not all stories are romances, certainly, but all good stories are love stories, in one way or another. “Only connect,” E. M. Forster said, and at these words, a great Amen rises in me.

CBK: Your characters have definite musical tastes—The Pixies, early David Bowie, They Might Be Giants. Are you promoting your own favorite bands through Shandi?

JJ: I am a visual arts person, a museum person. I am much more interested in seeing than hearing. I have embarrassingly pedestrian musical tastes; I listen to cheery pop with my eleven year old daughter. I like music that doesn’t ask me to pay much attention to it. As I write this, Pandora is playing “Jungle Love” for me. I am chagrined to report that I just thumbsed it up.

All the bands mentioned came from hanging out with my husband, my niece Erin Virginia, and my cool friend Lydia. I know this music because it matters so much to them, and they matter so much to me. I used their bands and songs to say things about the characters---not me.

CBK: Your contemporary novel deals with an ancient concept: the miracle. Do you believe in miracles?

JJ: Absolutely. Someone Else's Love Story is full of huge, overblown miracles. A virgin birth, a holy sacrifice, more than one resurrection. But they are all fake. They are all explained away and undercut. They are dust.

The real miracles are smaller. There are at least two in this book, so tiny it is easy to miss them. They are very true and dear and frail and human. They spark and pop for only a moment before they begin to diffuse and spread themselves like mist into the story. They change everything.

From Booklist

In her sixth novel, an inspiring story of love, faith, and redemption, Jackson delivers another page-turner. Sweet 21-year-old southerner Shandi falls “in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K” when the hulking geneticist positions himself between the drugged-out gunman and single-mother Shandi’s three-year-old son. Although William’s heroic feat is not exactly born out of altruism, and he suffers a bullet wound in the process, it’s enough to earn Shandi’s undivided love and attention, and she throws herself into caring for him when he is released from the hospital. Jackson hooks readers right from the outset as she seamlessly moves from the dramatic holdup to a subtle and often moving exploration of the various guises of love and faith. All of the characters—from atheistic William, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome; to Shandi, who possesses a warmth and compassion that belie her youth; to their respective best friends: the sardonic Paula and the poetry-spouting Wolcott—are so vividly drawn, they fairly leap off the page. Highly readable, with a lightly drawn philosophical and religious backdrop, this is a perfect choice for book clubs. --Joanne Wilkinson

Product Details

  • File Size: 1089 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 19, 2013)
  • Publication Date: November 19, 2013
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,256 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times Bestselling author of six novels, most recently SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY

Her short novella, MY OWN MIRACULOUS, is the prequel to her latest title, and is available as an e book and an audio download.

She lives in Decatur, Georgia with her husband and their two kids. She loves Bourbon and Hot Yoga (not together) and she has more dogs than you. Unless you have three.

She's also an award winning audiobook narrator.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Karielle @ Books à la Mode on December 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Shandi Pierce is no stranger to miracles—she was still a virgin when she had her son, Natty, and he in the flesh is an everyday blessing—and so when, in an extraordinary turn of the cosmic screw during her move to Atlanta, she's held at gunpoint in a Circle K, she sees no other option than to consider her fateful meeting with William Ashe just that: a miracle. This is the moment that changes everything for her; it is the moment she decides she will no longer pretend that beautiful Natty's conception was a miracle—immaculate and tidy—and unbeknownst to her yet, it is the moment she embarks on the poignant quest to finally face up to reality.

Joshilyn Jackson's newest novel is a quirky, surprisingly tender journey that tests the boundaries of personal strengths, as well as weaves a glittering story about destiny or—as pushed by science and numbers—lack thereof.

The story consists of an exchange between two distinct narratives: Shandi's vivid, smart, and smart-assed first-person voice intertwined with Will's blunted, methodical, and seemingly objective point-of-view. The unique timeline—primarily placed in the present, but with flashes of significant events revealed during opportune moments—allows readers to become intimate with both characters who are similar in that they are both cynically hopeful, loved, and lonely, but diverge because they are ultimately fighting their own inner battles—battles they expose to one another, but cannot expect the other to completely understand. This is, by any measure, a love story—multiple love stories—but it is not their love story, because their stories are established before they even get the chance to meet.

There's nothing that wasn't well done in this novel.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ferdy VINE VOICE on July 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Shandi is a young woman who has made herself believe that her son, Natty, is a miracle - a virgin birth- because anything else is unimaginable to her.
William is a man whose entire world changed a year ago after a fatal car crash involving his wife and child.
These two people's paths intersect at a Circle K gas station one late summer afternoon in rural Georgia. What happens next seems to Shandi to be destiny. She, for the first time, has more than platonic feelings toward a man and he, for the first time in a year, begins to let someone in.
This is certainly no typical romantic story but it is one of the loveliest and most touching stories you will ever read. Shandi and William are both people closed off to love for different reasons and through their interactions with each other, they begin to feel again and to want more.
Natty Bumpo, as Shandi calls her 3 year old son, is definitely a bright and gifted child. He is the light in the darkness guiding both Shandi and William toward their futures. Shandi's best friend, Walcott, and William's best friend, Paula, are the stabilizing forces in their lives and also their constant companions and protectors. They've helped Shandi and William survive but will they stand in the way of a second chance? The story is witty, warm and wise and has a twist of an ending that you truly don't see coming.
Joshilyn Jackson, the author, is one of my all time favorites. She really brings characters and locations to life through her vivid descriptions and mastery of southern dialogue. I feel like I'm hearing a story told by a best girlfriend when I read her novels. Her previous work including Between, Georgia and Backseat Saints are treasures and this novel has earned a spot on my bookshelf as well.
If you are a fan of Southern Literature, don't miss this heartwarming story of second chances from the masterful Ms. Jackson.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By kirSib on November 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Twenty-one-year old Shandi is on her way to start a new life. She's loaded up her tiny VW bug with all her possessions, her briliant three-year-old son, and her best friend Walcott and they are headed to the big city where she will have the opportunity to attend college. Natty (short for Nathan) gets car sick on the way, so they pull over to clean up at a gas station, where Shandi and Natty promptly become victims of an armed robbery.

William-- tall, blonde, handsome William-- is also shopping in the Circle K and also finds himself facedown on the cold linoleum while a kid with a gun screams and hollers and demands money nobody has. Though the robbery is short in duration, it leaves lasting marks on all involved and draws them all together, for better or worse.

This is such a hard book to review, mostly because I can't put my finger on whether I enjoyed it or not. The description lures you into expecting a love story, and it's so perfectly named because it IS a love story... just, someone else's love story. You will not know until the very end whose love story you are reading, who you are supposed to root for, who will end up with whom. That is actually what I loved most about this book. The fact that it kept me on my toes and I had no idea where it was going or what it was really about.

William is a complicated hero, and I won't spoil it by telling you what exactly that means because you should find out for yourself, but he was definitely different from any hero I have read up till now. There was no instalove. There were no cheesy confessions of unrealistic adoration within moments of meeting eachother.
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