I’m back on track with my 2017 reading challenge.
Three months over and 21 books read. I admit, it’s sometimes quite a struggle to read at this speed and I only hope it won’t turn into a chore. But being supplied with amazing books by NetGalley helps preventing that dreaded sameness.
One of the more recent books I received was Amanda Prowse’s The Idea of You. It was published on 21st March 2017 and I’m glad I discovered this extremely prolific author. Her characters are real-life women and The Idea of You is no different.
The Story of the Search Of Motherhood
Lucy Carpenter is in her late thirties. A woman with a solid career, who’s well respected at work. But her life seems a bit empty. Everyone around her is either getting married or having children and she feels a desperate need to join the race.
Jonah Carpenter is the answer to her prayers. They marry fairly quickly, but they soon discover that becoming parents might be more difficult than they think. Things get even more complicated when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay.
Characters and Exploration of What Being a Mother Means
Maybe it’s because I don’t have children. Maybe I’m just a different person from Lucy. I loved that this book revolves around a woman in her late thirties. It makes me feel closer to the character, she’s got a career, a loving partner and isn’t flaky. Ticks all the right boxes for me.
But – spoiler alert – Lucy struggles with carrying a baby to term. A thing that women my age and Lucy’s age worry about a lot. Wanting to be a mother, but not being given that opportunity. Lucy’s struggle feels real. I could understand the pain she is in if not exactly relate.
I felt she saw herself as a failure. Not being able to give Jonah (and herself) what they wanted most and not seeing all the other things she could be grateful for. And then Camille shows up.
Lucy tries hard to be friends with the teenager, but she seems to fail at that too. It’s almost as everything signals “You can’t be a mother”. This is where I stopped feeling sorry for Lucy and couldn’t understand her at all.
Falling Out With The Main Character
As far as I’m concerned Lucy was one of those people who see a fault somewhere else. You know, I’m trying really hard, but she pushes me away. You don’t understand, you’re on her side blah blah blah. She blames Jonah for spending more time with Camille and excluding her. He explains that he didn’t get much time with his daughter as she’s lived with her mum in France, but it’s almost as if Lucy glosses over that fact.
I also felt Lucy sees miscarriage as her burden and she’s the one who’s got the right to be upset as she’s on an emotional roller-coaster. But I couldn’t help but think how does Jonah feel. After all, it’s his children too. Yes, he doesn’t have to go through the physical pain, but I don’t think he’s completely unaffected.
My Love-Hate Relationship with Lucy Carpenter aka the Main Character
There’s another twist in the plot of The Idea of You. And this is the point where I started to respect Lucy a bit more. We find out that she hasn’t been completely honest with Jonah and that there is a big skeleton lurking in her closet. But Lucy deals with this in a very mature way (as is only right for a woman in her position). Her past experience also helps her relate to Camille and it’s heartwarming to see how the two women bond over this not so insignificant event.
By the end of the book I could forgive Lucy’s selfish fits and focus on the person she became. And as such, she’s quite likeable.
Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Amanda Prowse for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.