Chloe Carlyle has always longed for the perfect family. The first thing I will say is that the cover is deceiving. This is a very emotional journey. So for her childhood, I have little to say. The fact that her Mother is there and an alcoholic is just so sad. Her babysitting job for a while was taking care of Sammy and Sarah, they were the Reed family twins. Of course she knew “of” and saw pictures of their oldest, Tyler, who was away at Notre Dame on a scholarship. She always thought he was cute and blah blah but never met him. When she does she is (in my opinion) in love with the ideal boy, the person she thinks Tyler is, the person his parents want and insist he be.
I will say that there is not one but several tough subjects discussed in the book. ALL of them are eye opening. I saw some other reviews of the book and I will say it saddened me that people wrote “this involves cheating” and “coming from a broken home. What really bothered me was the spoilers. “ I will say that Chloe has issues at home, but although the same as discussed in other books, she is so real to me. Her character and her relationship and future are what brought her to life. Quotes like:
“For once in my life, I’d felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I’d enjoyed every last minute of it, and given the chance would’ve done it all over again. How can you be taken advantage of if you’re a willing participant?”
She was in my mind and didn’t leave, even now a week after I read it.
For the issues of course her Mom being an alcoholic, but then later on in life had issues with mental health. Chloe didn’t judge her or become bitter either. Somehow she managed and used her friend Sydney and Mom Grace to fill the void. What I loved was the message that things for Chloe didn’t start out great, but she was so determined and focused to find her passion for school and practicing law. Everything about her education was realistic. People don’t know what new grads taking the bar are up against. 80 hours a week and that is the norm.
Then Sammy and Sarah in my opinion were heartbreaking too. Dr. and Mrs Reed were awful parents. When you read the book, and I HOPE you will, listen to the sub-plot and their dialogue. I wanted to take a hammer to his hands and rip her voice box out. SO there! Tylahhhhh smack, crack, break, DONE
“I burst into tears as they took her away to the psych ward, kicking and screaming obscenities at me and everyone around her. To say it was the lowest point of my life would be a grandiose understatement.”
It explores all aspects of marriages and grown up life. Yes for both Tyler and Chloe and his parents, marriage is not easy and it NEVER is. I took away from the story, a big reality check. Many people I know and love are divorced and not once but a lot of them twice over. I am lucky and not one of them, but like Sydney and Grace, I was the listener to many people going through so many similar issues.
“Though she liked Tyler a lot at this point, she’d always remained a little skeptical of him. I think she thought I was more invested in him”
The mental illness that went on in the Reed household was there and it was powerful. Putting pressure and unusually difficult expectations on children is what hurt me for all of them.
The mental beating Chloe took from the Reed family in order to collect her $20 an hour was just painful. Her financial issues were her own and her Mother was evil when it came to that part. You would think she would resent it but no she didn’t. While away at school she met Cam who was her study partner and she formed a new strong bond, a friendship and a love with him. She needed him and he was always there for her.
“We were both excited for the opportunity to prove to ourselves that we knew what good parenting looked like, despite our lack of examples”
I really have to say bravo to Dina. This was a great book. I felt so strongly about the issues and I urge all my pals to read it. Maybe it will open your eyes. If you don’t take away at least one message then I feel sorry for you.
About the Author
A graduate of Purdue University, Dina Silver has spent the past fifteen years feeding her red wine habit by working as a copywriter in the advertising industry. In addition to writing ad copy, she formed Dinas Ideas (dinasideas.com), a greeting card company, in 2003. Dina serves as the sole writer and designer for the business and has penned over 300 greeting cards since its inception.
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