The Best of Us: April 2013
An all-expense-paid week at a luxury villa in Jamaica—it’s the invitation of a lifetime for a group of old college friends. All four women are desperate not just for a reunion, but for an escape: Tina is drowning under the demands of mothering four young children. Allie is shattered by the news that a genetic illness runs in her family. Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband’s infidelity. And, finally, there’s Pauline, who spares no expense to throw her wealthy husband an unforgettable thirty-fifth birthday celebration, hoping it will gloss over the cracks already splitting apart their new marriage.
Languid hours on a private beach, gourmet dinners, and late nights of drinking kick off an idyllic week for the women and their husbands. But as a powerful hurricane bears down on the island, turmoil swirls inside the villa, forcing each of the women to reevaluate everything she knows about her friends—and herself.
I have been a fan of Sarah’s since her first book came out. I’ve already explained how I scour the bookcases of each and every store I go to even if I only went for milk, bread, toilet paper, whatever… anyway, that’s where I found The Opposite of Me. I immediately fell in love with her wit and humor. I loved the way that the friendships and relationships were so realistic and I could picture myself, not as an outsider, but someone inside the story. I loved her short stories, All is Bright, Love, Accidentally, and Beginning Again, and then a few books in- The Best of Us.
Looking at the tell-all blurb on the back of the book, I think “Here we go again”, the clichéd exhausted mother, the perfect one, the rich, trophy wife… but there’s so much more. That’s one of the things I love about Sarah’s writing- I haven’t been let down. Naturally, I am always the one to ask “Well what happens next?” when the story is over (and then I make up my own ending in my mind about exactly what happens for weeks, months, and years after the book stopped telling me). That’s the good stuff right there. I always want more after, but have never wanted more during the read. She gives us such a deep, complex look at these women she writes about. I can put myself in their shoes in the book and honestly say that’s what I would have done/felt/said. I can’t ask for anything more than to relate to them- and I do.
Especially Tina— the crazy mom who feels guilty about leaving her kids, but is so exhausted and worn that, not only is she looking forward to an amazing one-in-a-lifetime vacation, but getting to sleep in past 6, having a bed that’s not filled with kids (and the dog in my case), and not having to hear MOMMMMMMM repeated on loop… Ok, so I went a little far there, but hey, if I were to get a vacation without my kids, those are the reasons why I’d jump at the chance! The multiple point of views that the book is read in enable you to further embrace the differences between the personalities captured in these characters. Although I related most to Tina (the overworked, under-appreciated mom), I could also appreciate the other characters as they developed.
Throughout the book, the secrets that they keep so tightly locked inside start to slowly reveal themselves and the lies and guilt take over the house. As the hurricane approaches the island, the house guests are forced to face the choices that have led them to where they are and make decisions necessary to move forward in their lives. This engaging, enjoyable read is full of intriguing plot twists and is so well-crafted you won’t be able to put it down. Sarah has become one of my go-to authors that when I see a book available for pre-sale, I immediately order, knowing I can’t ever be disappointed.
*From when I met Sarah (and the other Midwest Ladies) in July of 2016*
“[Pauline] had never been consumed by a rush of love when she walked int a room ad unexpectedly discovered him there. But she admired Dwight’s mind and his innate sense of fairness, and was amused by his interest in comic books and computer games. Her man-child, she sometimes thought of him. If she had to pick one word to describe her emotions about their marriage, it would be contentment. This was the life she expected- the one she yearned for.”
“Tina thought about the enormous jumble of dirty laundry on the basement floor, the egg-encrusted dishes littering the kitchen sink, the new stain on the rug, which resembled a Rorschach test.”
Check her out! Honestly, you won’t be disappointed!
Happy reading (as always!)- Kris
PS. Don’t forget to hop onto our Facebook page to enter yourself for a chance to win Sarah’s newest novel The Perfect Neighbors and some Cameron’s Coffee!
*Giveaway ends October 1, 2016