- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Atria; First Edition edition (September 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743407059
- ISBN-13: 978-0743407052
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 80 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The First Time Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 29, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Terminal illness becomes a catalyst for change in this generally affecting if sometimes maudlin drama by the bestselling author of Missing Pieces and See Jane Run. At 36, art dealer Mattie Hart seems to be enjoying a perfect life. Her husband, Jake, is a brilliant criminal defense lawyer; her teenage daughter, Kim, is lovely and affectionate; and the Harts have a gorgeous home in the Chicago suburbs. But ever since their hasty marriage 16 years agoAMattie got pregnant on their first dateAJake has been chafing at the bit, sleeping around and neglecting his wife. Until now, Mattie has managed to ignore his infidelities. But his most recent affair, with freelance writer Honey Novak, is more serious, and Jake plots to leave Mattie just as she plans to confront him. Matters come to crisis when Mattie is found to have debilitating Lou Gehrig's disease, with the prognosis of only a short time to live. Jake is guilt-ridden; though he has already moved out, he returns home to care for Mattie, meanwhile continuing his liaison with Honey. The complicated emotional situation hurts Kim, who is already struggling with the onset of maturity and the pressures of social popularity. Fielding is good at chronicling the messy tangle of family relationships, delving into Jake's childhood memories of abuse and Mattie's recollections of marital neglect. As the end approaches for Mattie, all three are forced to examine what love really means. None too subtle, the novel nevertheless wins points for honesty and forthrightness, tackling complex issues and gearing readers up for a three-tissue finale. Regional author tour. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Mattie Hart has spent the past 16 years destroying the evidence of an unfaithful husband: she has brushed aside countless scraps of scribbled phone numbers, thrown away hotel receipts she finds in her husband's coat pockets, and ripped up love notes. Finally, with the recent discovery of yet another indiscretion, she realizes that shredding physical evidence has done nothing to prevent her emotional fraying. Yet before Mattie can confront Jake, a high-profile defense lawyer, and come to grips with the fact that he has never loved her, he moves out of their beautiful suburban Chicago home and into his latest young paramour's apartment. And then Mattie receives some devastating news from her doctor: she has Lou Gehrig's disease. Struggling with a guilty conscience, Jake moves back home to care for his wife and repair relations with their angry teenage daughter, Kim. After a bout of furious denial, Mattie finds herself in the compromising position of depending upon a man whom she has never fully trusted. She also must convince Kim that her previously absent father will be there for her in the future. This is rich stuff. While skimping on plot, Fielding has created an adept study of three flawed characters who, after years of playing head games, must learn how to communicate. Despite such heavy psychological drama, the tone lightens as together these three vanquish inner demons. In the end, even as the novel races toward tragedy, Mattie prevails. Fielding has again pushed a seemingly fragile heroine to the brink, only to have her fight back, tooth and nail. This time, though, death is not the greatest threat. Kristin Kloberdanz
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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Mattie Hart has just found evidence of her husband, Jake's, infidelity again and is trying to determine what she is going to do now. Will she kick him out or let him stay again? Their relationship stands on the brink this time and their daughter, Kim, turns against her father. Jake, a hotshot Chicago attorney, moves out to be with his latest conquest.
Even though Jake has left, Mattie needs to call on him for help when she lands in the hospital after a horrible car wreck. Jake answers the call and begins to have second thoughts about leaving Mattie and their daughter, Kim.
Infidelity is the overriding theme of this book. As Mattie and Jake learn to deal with their problems, they also learn to love again. Great love story!
Fielding successfully approaches the story from Mattie's, Jake's and Kim's point of view, and pulls no punches in describing the hazardous emotional road faced by today's teenagers and their parents.
Fielding had dropped off my reading list in the last couple of years, quite by accident, and I am fortunate to have rediscovered her in this, her best book to date!