"Did you know both Kline and Nora think we'll get back together? Since we're the best-friend type who crack each other up?" She was out of breath. "And that Nora has always envied us? And can see us canning peaches when we're eighty?"
"People think things."
"Ah, yeah, they do."
"People like to stand on the sidelines with their theories. I've done it myself. It's mostly bullshit."
"And sometimes on the sidelines you can see better than if you're playing the game. Sometimes you have a vision of two old happy people canning peaches, and you trust it."
Evvie and Ben had been drawn to each other from their college days, thanks to their similar dysfunctional childhoods and feelings of isolation. For years after they got married, they were figuring out their lives together and earned their living pushing pushcarts. A few years ago however, they closed their business and Ben took work as a regular employee, wearing office clothes and walking the streets like other workers as he headed to work. Ever since Ben "figured out" his life, Evvie has been feeling detached and scared. Her obsession with animal welfare - doing protest marches and talking about it every so often to whoever is listening to her - is driving Ben crazy. Until one day he decides to leave her. This decision however causes Evvie to unravel. Unable to handle the separation, she persists in begging Ben to stay back, climbs into his new apartment and tries to seduce him back, and keeps ringing him up to ask him how his day is going and when he is coming back. Until one day, she sees Ben with his new girlfriend (of whom she wasn't aware). A dangerous plan forms in her mind - even at this point, she would try anything to get Ben back.
I however didn't relate to any of the characters. Both Ben and Evvie were very flawed and felt highly immature to me. Evvie was childish most of the time and her stubbornness would probably look better on a ten-year old. Although I tried to respect her for who she was, it was hard work - she could sense Ben's drifting away from her, but she made it still harder by rambling about disparate stuff. Ben, on the other hand, wasn't putting any effort into trying to save his marriage. His affair with a divorced woman, Lauren, was only complicating matters. Believing himself deserving of a more fulfilling life, he was more than willing to break off with Evvie and start a relationship with Lauren. I wasn't exactly convinced by his reasoning. Most of his time after the separation he spent comparing Lauren to Evvie and feeling nostalgic about his life with Evvie. In addition, Lauren also didn't feel real to me - she popped up in my mind as a caricature of a nimble exuberant woman.
Despite the faulty characters, I did find it hard to put down this book. Jane McCafferty's writing was the main strength of this book for me. And the more I read, the more I began to feel that I was not expected to like any of these characters. Both Ben and Evvie made mistakes and just as it was almost impossible relating to Evvie, it was hard sympathizing with Ben. Although, I did feel sorry for Evvie. Despite her grating whining, it was clear that she needed help.
I received this book for free for review from the publisher via TLC Book Tours.