June 9, 2015

Forever, Interrupted - Taylor Jenkins Reid

Forever, Interrupted book cover
Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year's Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn't expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they've eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met—and who doesn't even know Elsie exists.

Last year, I fell hard for Reid's sophomore novel After I Do. It was a stunning look into the ups and downs of marriage, and the choices you make out of love, and I was very impressed. I immediately went out of my way to grab her debut novel Forever, Interrupted, but it languished on my TBR pile until I found myself craving an adult contemporary a few weeks ago. And friends, Reid's debut novel is just as remarkable as her second.

As I said in my initial thoughts shared on Goodreads, Reid really has a knack for showcasing people who are enduring tough situations. Elsie Porter is in a terrible position, having lost her husband, the love of her life, mere days after they had gotten married. Her grief, her anger, her apathy towards life - it is all extremely uncomfortable to read about because it's harsh and jagged and utterly raw. And yet, the authenticity with which Reid unveils each step forward (or backward) in Elsie's life after Ben's death strikes a note of familiarity with the reader. I might not have always agreed with Elsie, or even liked her, but I found it possible to empathize with her.

Even though I wound up really liking Forever, Interrupted, it definitely took some time to fully immerse myself in the story. This is mostly because I had to adjust to the way the story went from flashbacks to present day. But once I got into the swing of Reid's storytelling? I was hooked. I would go from grinning like a fool over the start of Ben + Elsie, to being really mad or sad with (or at) Elsie. What I like best, really, is that Reid manages to balance hardship and hope so damn well.

Though it hasn't quite eclipsed After I Do as my favorite, Forever, Interrupted is this incredibly well-written story of a woman who has to cope with losing the love of her life. It is heartbreaking, but it is also hopeful, and I can definitely say I'm a fan of Reid's style. If you've yet to check out either of her novels, and you find yourself curious about these stories, I highly recommend that you do.


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