Skip to main content

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

(Source: Book of the Month)
Modern Lovers was the first book I received from my Book of the Month Club. I was so excited when I saw that it was one of the books for this month, because I had hoped it would have been selected for another book club I am a part of, but it wasn't. The cover intrigued me, the way Morgan Jerkins described it sold me, I knew I needed to read this book. However, upon finishing the book, I feel like I have been let down. I feel like there was so many places this book could have gone, and yet, I felt like I was reading a story about what could have been anybodies life.

(Source: Kelsey Darling)

Five Sentence Summary

In college, Elizabeth, Andrew and Zoe were in band, Kitty's Mustache, along with another girl, Lydia, who left the band and made a name for herself, before dying at an early age. Now, Elizabeth and Andrew are married and have a son Harry, and Zoe has married Jane, and they have a daughter named Ruby, and a producer is asking them to sign over their life rights so they can make a movie about Lydia, but that is the last thing Andrew wants. Zoe and Jane are on the verge of divorce; Andrew feels like he is floundering in life and isn't sure what he wants; and now Harry and Ruby are an item and getting caught having sex in the park. Over the course of the summer, Harry and Ruby find themselves discovering themselves while having fun with each other and facing life decisions while their parents find themselves struggling to cope with everything that life is throwing at them. By the end of the novel, everyone has a clear idea of what they want from life, from their partners, and from themselves.

Likability
  • Elizabeth and Andrew have a cat named Iggy Pop who goes missing for a good portion of the novel, and Elizabeth frets the entire time about where he is. As silly as this is, this spoke to the cat lover in me. I love my cats and if they were missing, I would be throwing the biggest fit until they had been returned to me. I definitely get you, Elizabeth. (And this is the second post in the last week in which I relate to a cat lady; I'm beginning to worry about myself!)
(Source: Giphy)
  • Emma Straub is amazing with descriptions! You can really visualize the settings, the people, the food, oh, the food! Zoe and Jane own a restaurant and so food plays a big part in their scenes. At one point, they're talking about pancakes that Jane made and I could imagine myself eating them and became incredibly hungry and jealous that I was not actually eating them.
"Jane set an enormous platter of pancakes-thick, fluffy, generously studded with blueberries-in front of Elizabeth...Elizabeth edged off a small bite of pancake with the side of her fork. 'Oh, my God,' she said. 'These are insane.'" (p.231)

(Source: Giphy)

Dis-likability
  • So the two characters that I really hate are Andrew and Ruby. They both need a good slap so they can realize how good they have it.
    • Andrew is a cheater. Yes, he was not married to Elizabeth when he slept with Lydia, and he hasn't cheated with anyone else, but god, I hate cheaters. And this is why he doesn't want to sign over his life rights for the movie; Elizabeth doesn't know and he had no plans of telling her. And listen to how he described cheating on her:
"It was like Betty and Veronica. Archie loved them both, and they loved each other, too, even though they tugged him back and forth. When Andrew imagined Elizabeth finding out, that was a part of his defense. It wasn't much but it was something. He hoped he'd never have to use it, that Lydia would just disappear one day and make his life easier. It wasn't like he and Elizabeth were married. They weren't even living together. It was worse than jaywalking but not as bad as a root canal. Worse than throwing up in a taxicab but not as bad as going to the DMV." (pp. 237-238)
    • If any man even dreams of cheating on me, which is bad enough, but cheats on me with a friend and then has the audacity to say it's not as bad as a root canal or trip to the DMV, well, hell hath no fury. He was crazy to think that his little affair with Lydia, no matter how brief, would die with Lydia. Also, he joins a pseudo-cult and gives them $100,000+! I know he's lost, but that yoga studio/frat house had ponzie scheme written all over it!
    • Also in the category of not deserving their significant other: Ruby! I just never got a good vibe from her. She calls her friends stupid and dislikes the fact that they're going off to college in the fall and she is going to be stuck working in her moms restaurant. She clings to the hope of her ex-boyfriend Dust will still be there, and since he doesn't have any goals for his life either, she likes that. Only Dust treated her like shit and umm, oh yeah, she's dating Harry. She isn't completely oblivious to the fact that she is torn between the two guys though.
"That morning, she had woken up from a sex dream...She and Harry were kissing, and then they were doing it, and then he was on top of her, but instead of Harry, it was Dust. Harry/Dust opened his mouth and said, in a perfect Harry/Dust voice, 'It's just you and me next year.'" (p. 306)
    • And what is even more heartbreaking about this is Harry's very obvious love for Ruby. He lost his virginity to her, and there's a good chance that she was his first girlfriend. He takes their relationship much more seriously than she does.
"He'd already told Ruby that he loved her, and he couldn't imagine that changing anytime soon. He couldn't imagine it changing, period." (p. 259)
    • I think that is what makes my dislike for Ruby so much more. I have been both Harry and Ruby in a relationship, and it sucks on either end, but I always feel for the Harry's of the world because it affects them more in the long run. And that she is just always so negative about everything.
(Source: Giphy)
  • The big thing about the book that I didn't like is that I felt like I could have been reading about anybody's lives. I feel like there was so much possibility with the fact that they used to be this awesome band and they had all of these amazing memories. Instead, the most exciting part was Elizabeth finding out about the fling between Andrew and Lydia and then Elizabeth drunkenly telling Zoe and Jane about it. I wished for so much more.
Wrap Up

I had a hard time relating to the characters, aside from Elizabeth's worry for Iggy Pop. The adults were in their 50's; they've lived their lives, they've gone on adventures, they are stable(-ish). The kids were 17 and 18; they have no clue what they want for dinner, let alone what they want out of life. I'm in the middle of these groups. Yeah, I can look back and remember what it was like to be that age, but I never had any of the experiences they did. Ruby, for me, was someone I could not relate to. I know people like her, who probably could relate to her, but I couldn't. To me, she felt too selfish and very hard.

I did like at the end, the "articles" about where everyone is 5 years later. It added a special touch to the book that I felt was missing through the rest of it. Again, it was an attention to detail that Straub put in there that makes the book better.

But overall, I am disappointed in the book. I'm hoping next month I will choose more wisely.

Rating: 4.5/10
Pages: 353
Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

I was really excited for this book. I have the day-by-day calendar and I love it. It's posts are quick and witty and there's a bonus on the back of every day that tells you something interesting, or is a little puzzle, or something to get you thinking. It's great. The book version was...a let down, for a few reasons.


How Not To
So yeah, I get how repetition is good in a self help book, but this was a bit too much. If I never hear any of these phrases again, it'll be too soon: subconscious mind, conscious mind, love yourself, change your thinking, become aware. Almost every chapter contains a list of what you're supposed to do to realize that you are a badass, and every list contains all of those in some form or another. By about chapter 6, I got it.There are a lot of "I" statements, and not the kind that instruct you to change how you structure your thoughts (those are there, too, just not as much). You Are a Badass is an autobiography of Jen Sincero's

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

I received Behind Her Eyes from Book of the Month a few months ago, and after finishing Night Film, another psychological thriller, I was ready for this one. I love the entire book-the characters, the plot, the authors writing style. And then I read the last three chapters and my love for the book deflated. I have never been so let down by an ending in my entire life. It's funny how just a few pages can ruin an entire book for you.

Behind Her Eyes follows Louise, a single mother who is stuck in a rut, and Adele, the new girl in town who seems to have her shit together. And of course there is a man. David met Louise in a bar one night and they shared an amazing kiss. David is married to Adele. Oh, and when Louise goes to work on Monday, she finds out that David is her new boss. Nothing awkward about that. It gets worse when Adele bumps into Louise and invites her to coffee and they become friends. But Adele makes Louise promise that she won't tell David about their friendship b…

Black Obsidian by Victoria Quinn

When I first started this review, I wasn't really sure what I was going to write, but then as I started thinking about it, I really did not like the book. This is why:

It's your typical toned down erotica novel; it's a carbon copy of Fifty Shades, just with different names. I feel like it started out strong, but once Calloway starts falling for this girl who "won't understand his lifestyle," it went downhill fast.I am so sick of rich men using their means to track down this one girl. It's creepy. If some man did that to me, I'd be filing a restraining order, not crawling into bed with him.I am also sick of the man trying to control every aspect of the woman's life before they have signed a contract. Calloway, you are Rome's boyfriend, not her Dom; you can't buy her a house because her apartment was broken into. Again, restraining order, not bed. And even when there's a contract between a Dom and a sub, there are soft and hard limits, a…