Saturday, March 17, 2012

Julie's Review: Another Piece of My Heart

Summary: Andi has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she's finally found him.  Ethan--divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia--is a devoted father and even better husband.  Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own. But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives…and in their hearts. ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART is a novel that illuminates the nuances and truths about relationships and is Jane Green at her absolute best.

Review: I am so excited that Jane Green has another book out! I've read her for a long time and while the last couple haven't been excellent, I still always enjoy her novels. I knew that Another Piece of My Heart sounded a bit different from her other books but still dealing with family issues. Like Promises to Keep this deals with some pretty tough subject matters.

Being in a blended family myself, it's never easy but my dad got remarried when I was in my 20s, so my step-mom didn't have to deal with the teenager angst from either of us. These situations are becoming more the norm than the exception, so I think Ms. Green is extremely timely with her novel. I also know that she and her husband combined families so perhaps part of this subject is very familiar to her but maybe without the drama.
I liked Andi overall. She's by no means perfect but she tries. She tries her hardest with her step-daughter Emily who is so full of rage and hatred towards her. Emily views Andi as competition instead of an ally. She thinks that Andi took her father away from her and that he loves her less. Never mind that Emily doesn't get any love from her drunk mother. Maybe part of Emily's anger should have been directed towards Janice instead of Andi but I never got the sense that she hated her mom.

I don't think Andi ever hated Emily but I think she was extremely hurt by her anger. She didn't know when she would be nice and when she was going to be evil. Trust me, Emily was all kinds of evil. I understood why Andi was fed up. She was fed up because she never felt that Ethan stuck up for her or that he disciplined his daughter. Ethan was too worried about making Emily happy than giving her boundaries.

While I enjoyed the chapters written from Emily's point of view, I still wasn't convinced that she changed. Sure three years seems like a long time to be away but when you are as immature as Emily was, it's not that long. She never really dealt with her feelings for Andi and her resentment towards her father. Frankly, I believe she should have had therapy. Emily might have gotten some parts of her life on track but she was still emotionally unstable. It's not until 3 years after she returns home and leaves again that I finally felt she was grown up, that she had resolved her issues with her family.

I really enjoyed the part of the novel where Janice helps Emily come to an emotional breakthrough regarding her situation. It was refreshing to see Janice step up and be a mother especially when it counted. When Emily needed some one to say some hard things to her but yet could do so in a caring manner.

I enjoyed how Ms. Green jumped ahead in her novel by a few years at a couple points in the novel. It made me feel that the characters were stuck in time and in circumstances they couldn't over come. Now, while I enjoyed the ending of the novel, I did feel that it was a little too neatly tied up. Maybe time and love really does heal all wounds. Maybe I'm just cynical.

For those of you who have read Jane Green previously but have stepped away from her Another Piece of My Heart is the novel to get reacquainted with her.

Final Take: 4.25/5



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