Some stories you pick on a whim and they take your breath away. The best part is, they don’t wear a warning!
Title: The Idea of You
Author: Amanda Prowse
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of publication: March 2017
Number of pages: 332
With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…
This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?
The Idea of You is carefully safe in my Kindle, on the nightstand next to me. I have just finished it and had to grab my laptop to throw all my feelings onto a page. I know I won’t be able to sleep if I don’t let go of all the emotions this story stirred in me.
I had requested my very first Amanda Prowse story a long time ago. The synopsis sounded different from my usual crime stories, the reviews promised a wonderful writing, I did not need anything more to jump in. Life got in the way and it’s only months later than I picked up my e-reader and dived in. Literally.
I read The Idea of You in one sitting. One painful, bittersweet, tender, amazing, powerful, tearful, hopeful, and fabulous sitting.
Motherhood feels like a lifetime away for me. Well, I do think about it. Society tells us a woman truly becomes one when she delivers what she was born to do: make sure humanity doesn’t end. No matter how much I disagree with this idea, I do feel the pressure of carrying the duty that falls upon us. At 27, I’m far behind on what is expected of me. According to magazines and talks, I should be in a relationship, have a job, and start a family in a nice house with white picked fences all around very soon. To hell with that.
Instead of playing with those absurd steps you’re supposed to take, the book offers a beautiful ode to motherhood in all its forms. The hardships to become a mother, the duties that comes with the reality of it, the concept of family.
I felt a connection to Lucy so very early on that it felt weird at first. In her forties and trying to conceive a baby, she couldn’t be further away from my own life. But her thoughts, her actions, her pain, they all tucked at my heartstrings so hard my body actually ached at times. Personal issues were picked at, and her story reminded me of my own fears and doubts. The flow of words -painted red, white, black – kindled all sorts of thoughts and reminded me how important it is not to imagine a future and stick to it, because life has its own way and you don’t get to choose sometimes. A lesson I needed to hear again, no matter how difficult it is to accept it.
The author’s subtle and spot-on writing hit me right in the guts, making me part of this family. I wished for a happy ending as if it were my own story I was reading.
“I am not depressed,” she whispered. “I am sad, and there’s a world of difference.”
Can we have it all? What does this “all” stands for? We all make plans and have hopes, but what happens when your longing for something overshadows what you already have? Second lesson learned: look around you and be thankful for what you have. Easier said than done? Maybe, but don’t we tend to forget it and crave for a seemingly greener land? The Idea of You is a realistic tale of what we can do, what is out of reach, how to come to terms with it without ever settling down for less than you deserve. In a beautiful and superb prose, Amanda Prowse puts words on scars, issues, love, and most of all, resilience.
The tears I shed surprised me at first, it was as though someone had opened my chest and left my heart in the open for everyone to see. I recognized the issues of blended families, of mother-daughter relationships, of expectations you have for yourself, and expectations others have for you. I let the warm tears flow and it felt like a relief. The Idea of You acts as a soothing blanket, it is a wonderful reminder you are not alone.
“I think I’m learning that maybe you don’t get everything in life, but you can be happy with the gifts you have.”
I can only recommend this story, no matter how many times I had to wipe away the tears falling on my Kindle’s screen. I feel stronger, happier, lighter. This is the first time a book held my hand and helped me when I thought I did not need any of it. I am sure The Idea of You can touch any of us, whether the subjects talk to us personally or not, because there’s so much to take from this story. I am thankful to have met Lucy, Jonah, and Camille. I am thankful for the unexpected discovery of my own heart. I will cherish The Idea of You for a long time.
I received an ARC through NetGalley. This review is my thanks to the publisher and the author.