Top positive review
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From a Guy's Perspective
on November 28, 2012
It appears that 90+% of the reviews for this book are written by women, so I'll try to offer a slightly different perspective and conclusion that I hope will give men a reason to read the book.
First, I obviously liked the book a lot. It is well written overall, offers unique perspectives from the point of view of two women who couldn't be more different, and in the end weaves the two stories together in a way I didn't see coming at first (although, once the two character's stories start to merge, the ending becomes very predictable). I found the story engrossing, and it made me want to keep reading.
But be prepared to be depressed. This is a very depresssing story even though it ends on a hopeful note.
The story of Taylor, the young woman who flees a terrible home situation only to end up in an equally terrible life as a porn star, is heartbreaking and believable. The story of Allyson was much harder for me to believe. Here is a woman who has been happily married for several years to a man she loves deeply and who apparently treats her very well. Then, with just one discovery that her husband views porn on the internet, everything falls apart. Suddenly, she sees him as unfaithful, a cheater, a man who doesn't love her, a liar, a pervert and basically scum she wants no part of. And remember, all this is before she knows he is addicted. How can you go from feeling for many years that he treats her like gold to this overreaction? Did anything happen during the good years to lead her to feel she wasn't loved? Apparently not. So, for all those years, his addiction didn't seem to impact their lives together in the slightest. Why is the discovery that a man looks at porn (who hasn't?) such a life changing event for Allyson? Even the very religious President Carter admitted to feeling "lust in his heart," and his wife seemed to accept it so long as it wasn't acted upon.
The husband's addiction is revealed to Allyson a little at a time, each time with a profuse apology, no mean words of justification, and endless declarations that he loves her and it means nothing to him. He tries and tries to make it up to her. Yet her response, time and again, is to ask him if he thinks the woman he looked at is more beautiful than she is, prodding him to disprove his own words. What a Catch 22: answer no, and she thinks he's lying again; answer yes and she feels worse. His answer: yes, the woman is more beautiful than her, but Allyson has an inner beauty she can't match. Wow! Truly an unbelievable response. No man in his right mind who claims to love his wife would answer that way and throw fuel on the fire.
So her husband looks at porn and that makes Allyson feels justified in having her own affair with her real former boyfriend. But how can looking at porn be considered equally as bad as having a real life affair?
I found her reactions irritating and hard to believe. However, I will defer to the many women who reviewed the book and said that is exactly how they would feel, and I accept it as fact, since I'm not in a position to know.
Without revealing the ending, I again found it hard to believe that Allyson would change her very judgmental attitudes so radically without going through a gradual transformation.
That said, it was still a compelling storyline. And I learned something new about how differently women may react to things that most men don't view as a big deal. (A big thanks to the women reviewers here for making it clear that Allyson's feelings were realistic. I wouldn't have known otherwise.)
Definitely worth a read by both women and men.