Thursday, December 25, 2008

Julie's Review: Love and Other Natural Disasters

Summary: Eve is grateful for the family and friends that surround her Thanksgiving table, including her husband, Jonathon; their five-year-old son, Jacob; and a baby due to make its arrival in a few short weeks. But in this predictable second novel from Shumas (Five Things I Can't Live Without), Eve's idyll gets trashed when a phone call interrupts their holiday dinner and exposes Jonathon's too-cozy friendship with another woman. What turns out to be an emotional affair launches a maelstrom of emotions for both Eve and Jon, neither of whom realized how much their marriage had disintegrated. As they struggle to work things out, they learn a lot about themselves and each other. Throughout the novel, Shumas, a therapist, invites the reader to consider the question—is it cheating if nothing physical happens? Shumas relies heavily on the standard marriage-in-trouble arc (separation, his disheveled bachelor apartment, her ill-fated fling), and readers familiar with the formula will know what to expect.

Review: I'm always thankful for free books ('s Early Reviewers group) and this one I'm definitely glad I didn't buy it. It was a disappointment because I was expecting something more than typically chick-lit and it was nothing but typical. Love and Other Natural Disasters is the story of how Eve finds out on Thanksgiving that her husband has been having an emotional affair with another woman. She finds this out because he's stupid enough to answer the phone to a distressed and lonely other woman. Oh and Eve's about ready to have their 2nd baby. She immediately kicks him out and the story doesn't really go any other direction than what you'd typically expect.

The interesting thing about this book was that it wasn't a physical affair, in other words no sex was involved by Jon or the other woman. We don't even get to meet Laney which to me is a disappointment and might have been an interesting climatic point to have Eve meet her. I personally think that an emotional affair can be more damaging to a marriage than one that involves sex. Sex to men, is Sex. It's not an emotional connection. Sure it can lead to one but let's be real, men and women view sex very differently. I would be extremely hurt if I found out that my husband was telling another woman things that he couldn't tell me or the antidotes that he used to amaze me with, even if I've heard them all before.

I liked Eve but I didn't love her. I didn't think Jon was a 3 dimensional character and was pretty much a stereotype for a cheating husband. He's only sorry he got caught and really didn't understand what he did was wrong. Oh and of course it was Eve's fault. (picture me rolling my eyes) Hey relationships go both ways and sure she wasn't completely interested but she was very much in love with her husband.

The ending was OK but nothing fantastic and left it open ended. I didn't like how Eve left it up to Jon to decide if they were going to give it another try. He's the one who screwed up, why should he get to decide?

Final Take: 3.0/5


Staci December 25, 2008 at 5:23 PM  

I agree with you on your point of emotional affair vs. sexual affair. Emotional to me seems so much more damaging.

Great review. Thanks for being so candid and honest about the book. It helps me decide whether to invest my time into it or not. I'm passing this one up!!

Serena December 29, 2008 at 10:01 AM  

I'm thankful you reviewed this. I also saw this at Library Thing's early reviewers. I'm glad I wasn't selected to read it.

Chick-lit bothers me most of the time.

tinylittlelibrarian January 6, 2009 at 10:02 PM  

I'm not reading your review yet because I got this one as an Early Reviewer, too, but haven't gotten to it. But from the bit I saw of yours, it looks like I'm not in for a treat, boo.

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