Monday, April 28, 2008

Review: Still Life With Husband

Summary: Meet Emily Ross, thirty years old, married to her college sweetheart, and personal advocate for cake at breakfast time.

Meet Emily's husband, Kevin, a sweet technical writer with a passion for small appliances and a teary weakness for Little Women.

Enter David, a sexy young reporter with longish, floppy hair and the kind of face Emily feel the weird impulse to lick.

In this captivating novel of marriage and friendship, Lauren Fox explores the baffling human heart and the dangers of getting what you wish for. -- vintage contemporaries

When STILL LIFE WITH HUSBAND by Lauren Fox arrived in the mail, my husband (who usually doesn't keep up with what I read) skimmed the back cover and the accompanying promotional materials and didn't think he liked the premise of the story. It's about a woman who gets bored in her marriage to her college sweetheart and decides to cheat on him. You see, we were college sweethearts; and I guess he didn't see how a book about infidelity could be humorous and entertaining. I had my doubts as well, but I did find the book very readable; and I found myself not wanting to put it down.

I hesitated to label this post with the term "chick lit" because I'm not quite sure that STILL LIFE qualifies as this genre. While parts of the story are definitely light and funny, I actually think that the story and the characters are a little deeper than most chick lit books. The book was written from Emily's point of view; and while I can't say that I agreed with much of Emily's behavior throughout the novel, I still found myself laughing at her take on her life.

My favorite part of this book was the friendship between Emily and her best friend Meg. I absolutely adored the character of Meg, and I thought the way she supported Emily was so amazing. Even though she was dealing with her own difficulties, she was still able to be there for Emily rather than wallowing in her own disappointments. I think Emily summed up Meg best with this quote in the book, "The choices I make about me may be apocalyptic, but my taste in best friends is impeccable."

STILL LIFE WITH HUSBANDS is Lauren Fox's first novel; however, I have no doubt that we will be hearing a lot more of her in the future. I think she is an incredibly gifted writer, and the reviews of this book and her writing are very positive! I would love to have the opportunity to talk with her, but I did find a terrific interview with her that answered many of my questions.

I think this book will make an excellent discussion book for your book club. Emily's actions throughout the story will generate a lot of heated debate (at least it would in my book club.) I just wanted to yell at her so many times and tell her to stop being so selfish! I was actually very impressed with how Ms. Fox chose to end this book (and a little bit surprised.) For me, Emily's actions at the end of this book are what makes this book a step above most other women's fiction and ultimately make this book very discussable. There is a reading guide for this book available here.

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