Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review: "First You Try Everything" by Jane McCafferty

This review is a stop on TLC Book Tours series on this book.

Evvie and Ben met in college and, for many years, had a happy and passionate marriage.  Then, things started to change.  Ben realizes that the marriage is no longer functioning and decides to end it.  Evvie, unable to handle this development, takes advantage of a chance meeting on a bus to try and win her husband back.  This leads to a risky plan that could save--or ruin--everything.

The dissolution of a marriage is never a happy story, and this is no exception.  Evvie is completely dependent on her husband and, when he decides to leave, her world crumbles.  While this sounds melodramatic--and it may be to some readers--I found it very realistic.  You see, I know a couple exactly like like Evvie and Ben (although they are still married).  As in the novel, the wife is mentally unstable and the husband has taken on the roll of caretaker and enabler.  I'm sure that if this real-life couple were to split, the outcome would be startling similar to this book.

This book alternates between both characters, which in other books can be confusing, but is effective here.  As they say, there are two sides to every story and here you read both of them.

It is at times frustrating to read about Evvie.  Her grip on reality is so far off-base, yet Ben is unable to completely cut his ties with her.  Every time he chooses to enable her--or at least soften the blow--he helps her dig yet a deeper hole.  After reading Evvie's downward spiral, her ultimate plan doesn't seem that far-fetched.

In some ways, I found Ben to be a less satisfactory character.  He never seems to completely process his own emotions regarding his marriage and its end.  Instead, he tries to bury himself in another relationship as quickly as possible (although, I will admit that I have seen this happen with many men I know in "real-life.")

While there are parts of this book that I found irritating or over the top, the penultimate scheme was more believable than I expected it to be.  What saved the book for me, however, was the end.  While it didn't do much to raise my esteem for Ben, I felt it to be a satisfying and realistic conclusion for Evvie.

First You Try Everything is not a fun, or relaxing read.  And, if you were to ask me while I was still reading the book, if I would recommend it, I probably would have said no.  However, the extreme character of Evvie illustrates that part in all of us that yearns, and depends, on others.  For anyone looking for a novel about relationships and the end of a marriage, I would suggest First You Try Everything.

Want some other opinions?  Check out reviews at these other Blog Tour stops:
February 1 - It's a Crazy, Beautiful Life
February 2 - Bookstack
February 3 - Oodles of Books
February 6 - Walking with Nora
February 7 - Literature and a Lens
February 9 - The Blog of Lit Wits
February 13 - A Chick Who Reads
February 14 - Drey's Library
February 16 - No Model Lady
February 17 - So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter
February 20 - Indie Reader Houston
February 21 - Books in the City
February 22 - From L.A. to LA
February 23 - The Book Garden
February 27 - Kritters Ramblings
February 28 - Reading on a Rainy Day
March 1 - For Such a Time as This
March 2 - Reading on a Rainy Day

Affiliate link: Purchase this item from Amazon.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher to review.  I did not receive any other compensation.

1 comment:

  1. A realistic ending is an absolute necessity for me - glad to know this one was satisfying for you.

    Thanks for being on the tour!