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Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Paperback – January 9, 2007
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“A romantic, shocking . . . page-turner [that] actually says something new and interesting about women, families and love.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Absorbing. . . . Compelling and artfully drawn. . . . The novel is beautifully paced and unfolds seamlessly.” –The Washington Post
“A smart and finally affecting portrayal of a woman working her way out of her own grandiose self-image into something like real love.” –New York
“The emotions Waldman instills in her protagonist are visceral and convincing. . . . [Emilia’s] always sharp, wickedly funny, opinionated and cheerfully bitter, lending depth and energy to this wise, entertaining book.” –San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
Ayelet (pronounced "I yell it") Waldman is the author of Daughter's Keeper and of the Mommy-Track mystery series. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Child magazine, and other publications, and she has a regular column on Salon.com. She and her husband, the novelist Michael Chabon, live in Berkeley, California, with their four children. www.ayeletwaldman.com
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Love and Other Pursuits is a dark, poignant and insightful story centered on family dynamics and a woman's journey to self-discovery. As mentioned earlier, the protagonist's tone is bitter and grim. Take this quote for example, where Emily talks about the mothers at the pre-school: "They will not speak to me; they shrink from me; they pull their children away from me as if touching me will give them some kind of disease, as if infidelity is contagious." I like this tone; I can appreciate it, because most humans, especially those with a torrid past or with current problems, see the world this way. I love novels with a dark undertone, and I enjoyed this novel. Emily is such a wonderfully humanized character -- so complex and realistic. Guilt and pain drive her actions and decisions, with mixed results. In the end, this is a story of self-discovery and how a child's misguided efforts to bring a family together could change you in unimaginable ways. I recommend Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. However, doesn't expect this to be a sugarcoated story. This has realism written all over it. The characters are very real, very well woven. The one thing I didn't like is the fact that, although William is supposed to be precocious and smart beyond his short years (he is supposed to be a prodigy of sorts), he sounds a little too grown up at times, so much so that at times I thought Emily was talking to Jack or some other grownup. Anyway, enjoy this gem and appreciate its touching message.
This is my very first book review.
My only problem with the story, however - and I hate to say this, Ms.Waldman - is the writing. Some of it. I am no writer myself, and I don't expect the wife of a Pullitzer prize winner (which is the case of Ms. Waldman) to write brilliantly like one either, but let's just say the author could benefit from the use of a good proof-reader/editor. Her style although pretentious at times (which I can forgive for she has big shoes to fit) is equally gripping and captivating. I thought the narrative was interesting, especially the clever use of flashbacks. I enjoyed reading a story where the main character (and narrator) is so close to becoming the antagonist. For those who were outraged and annoyed by some of the characters, those feelings were only possible because the author was able to develop that in writing.
But please, Ms. Waldman, please, proof-read your future published works. Something as simple as making sure one of the main character's names is spelled correctly on the very last sentence of your novel. Thank you.