Saturday, January 11, 2014
Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
This is not a romance. I'm not sure what category it is. Literary? Like all her books, it takes place in the South, in this case Georgia with the usual complement of eccentric/quirky characters.
A novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren't always what they seem—or what we hope they will be.
Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She's got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.
Shandi doesn't know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It's been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn't define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.
"I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K."
I'm a big fan of Joshilyn Jackson, especially of her first book Gods in Alabama. SELS has me scratching my head, because the format she used is puzzling and yet I find myself thinking of the characters and the trauma they went through.
The format? Parts are written in third person, past tense, others in first. Parts are written in third person present tense and first person present tense. There's a lot of telling because sections skip to the past while continuing with the present. It should be confusing but somehow it works. I just don't know why she did it that way.
I didn't like the heroine. She's very young and living in a fantasy world while still managing to deal with fighting parents and raising a genius three year old. Even toward the end, when she realizes how immature she's been, she still goes after her obsession which is William.
William I loved.
Like any Jackson book, the plot has twists and turns that keep the reader glued to the page. I particularly liked the two chapters, one from Shandi's POV, one from William's, which showed how completely wrong she was but hey, an obsession has to start somewhere. William has Asperger's and the author captures his 'different' thinking very well (in my uneducated opinion).
The ending was a big fail for me. All through the book she's been obsessing over William and in the final few pages, suddenly she realizes she's in love with someone else she's known since she was nine years old (and this is weeks after he declared his love for her, but oh no, she loved William. Yeah.) I don't see how someone couldn't know she loves someone until she gets back her memory of a particular event.
This isn't her best book and yet ... I can't stop thinking about it. Isn't that what a book is supposed to do? I kept turning pages until I was finished, so I guess the author accomplished her purpose. And everyone isn't 100% perfect and the characters in this book reflect that. But I wanted Shandi to get her shit together a lot earlier than she did.
I would still recommend this book because William is fascinating. His life is fascinating. And he's a true hero, overcoming his hang ups to find his HEA. I let out a big, happy sigh.
If you think this book's not for you, try Gods in Alabama. I think it's her best overall.