Thursday, January 15, 2009

Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas

BIG THANKS to Miriam of Hachette Book Group for sending me this book to review and for organizing this great book tour!

"Love and Other Natural Disasters" by Holly Shumas

Published by 5-Spot, a division of Hachette Book Group

Book description from publisher's website:

Eve is eight months pregnant and in the middle of a Thanksgiving celebration when she discovers that her husband Jonathan has developed an intimate relationship with a woman over the past year. Jonathon asserts his innocence (an affair involves physical intimacy, and he didn't have any), while Eve feels deeply betrayed by the emotional connection he shared with someone else. What Jon has done seems so terrifyingly out of character that Eve finds herself questioning her entire reality. Did she ever really know Jon at all? Was their happiness together a lie? Is emotional intimacy more forgivable than sexual intimacy? And can their marriage survive?

My opinion:

What really intrigued me about this book was the subject matter itself. We see and read so much about affairs in books, movies and the media but they are always the physical and sexual kind. Holly Shumas, being a practicing family and marriage therapist, has the perfect amount of insight in order to write about an emotional affair. It is an often overlooked topic and I think she handled it in a very respectful and thoughtful way, being careful not to assign too much blame to either spouse.

This book is not a light read but it was an enjoyable one in the sense that it made me think a lot and question the characters' decisions, while simultaneously contemplating what I would have done instead. At times I felt frustrated by the roller coaster of emotions Eve endured but ultimately I think she learned a lot about herself as a person. One of the important messages I will take away with me from this story is that we need to first know and love ourselves before we can commit to someone else, which Jon and Eve struggled with at first.

I like Holly Shumas' down to earth writing style, as well as the comic relief infused throughout the novel to lessen the load of such an emotionally charged topic. I look forward to reading her first book, "Five Things I Can't Live Without"!

Be sure to check out the other stops on this Early Birds Blog Tour:


bermudaonion said...

I found this book hard to put down, even though Eve was frustrating at times. Great review!

Toni said...

Great post. I also agree that Shumas put in some ironic humor and little touches throughout the story that made a tough subject tolerable to read about.

Anna said...

This sounds like an interesting read. I haven't seen too many books about emotional affairs; they usually focus on the physical.

Diary of an Eccentric

Miriam said...

Great review, Sheri! Thanks!

kalea_kane said...

I really enjoyed your review. I loved this book even though it brought up some painful memories. I really think that Holly had a wonderful bit of insight and I think a fictional story is the perfect way to inform others. :)

Luanne said...

Stopping by on the tour ( a day late..) I too really enjoyed this one - lots of discussion questions for a book club!

Literary Feline said...

This does sound like a different take on a very real problem. Thank you for the great review!

avisannschild said...

I enjoyed this book too! I just reviewed it here (and linked to your review).