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Author Laura Dave first captured my attention with London Is the Best City in America, continued to enchant me with The Divorce Party, and has once again exceeded my high expectations with her latest novel, The First Husband.
The story of Annie Adams, just shy of 32 and fresh off a breakup from her live-in boyfriend, could easily slip into cookie cutter territory, but Dave steers away from the predictable and embraces all the nitty-gritty, rough edges of relationships, exploring love and loss with reality-colored glasses on.
Put simply, have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, "In the movie version of this, who can I see playing the protagonist/main character?" You proceed to check through a list of celebrities, then come as close as you can to casting perfection.
Well, with The First Husband (as well as Dave's other amazing books), I can see myself as the main character--not in a narcissistic way, but in a relatable, real way. It's like Dave crawled inside my head and plucked out various thoughts and feelings I've had over the years regarding love, life, career and family. In short, Dave writes for her readers, not at them.
In The First Husband, I adore Dave's ability to seamlessly reference Saved By The Bell while explaining a friendship's back story, her observation of the perils of the Internet ("Nowadays you've got to try not to get emotionally involved with someone else; you have to try not to reach out to an old fling and start shrieking about maybe we're meant to be."), how she ponders the advice: "be the opposite of you", her use of a Wilco concert as a major plot point, and the way she notes the use of Facebook "status" (as a way of proclaiming you're "over" someone else).
Among the highlights of The First Husband: the intriguing "worst/best thing" question, which would have made my life much easier had I had it as my litmus test for men back when I was dating; an observation on breakups: "That's the brutality of a breakup, right? The people leaving think they did everything possible, the people left behind think what is possible hasn't even been tested yet"; an observation about the path we choose: "When you saw where the truth was, you wanted to get to it as quickly as you could, before you lost sight of it again"; and a gem about life in general, or whatever problem you're faced with: "When you're willing to do the work, it's amazing what can be saved."
I can't imagine how Dave will top The First Husband, but I can't wait to find out!
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