modern lovers // emma straub

published 2016
ISBN: 9781594634673
pages: 353
read from: 9/7-11/2016
rating: 1) didn't care for it 2) liked it 3) LOVED IT
(i feel like i should note that i liked it okay but i would have been okay never having read this book. that's what those two ratings together mean for me.)



SYNOPSIS (amazon)

Friends and former college band mates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.

Back in the band's heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed.


SPOILERS 

ELIZABETH & ANDREW

Elizabeth, Andrew, Zoe and Lydia all met at Oberlin during their college years and to cut it short, form a band. They're okay til Elizabeth writes Mistress of Myself that sets them on the map. Eventually Lydia leaves cause she was messing around with Andrew (even though he was with Elizabeth) and he never wanted more with her like she did. She becomes big in the music world til she dies of an overdose.

So this movie company starts trying to produce a movie about her life and everyone is for it except Andrew.
Artistic rights or whatever it's called blah blah blah but basically he says no because he doesn't want Elizabeth to find out they were sleeping together. Which of course she does. But she finds out after the fact. After she's forged his signature and he threatens to sue to which they threaten to sue cause hey!, falsifying signatures is apparently a huge crime. (I know it is.)
They don't break up but it is shitty for a while. I guess.

Andrew's also this big time rich dude who grew up with angst about it BUT he never really has to worry about work or anything cause if he needs money, he has it.
Which is why he dumps a million dollars  (I think) into this crap called EVOLVEment which turns out to be a pretend yoga studio where basically anyone gets to walk in and do yoga or smoke or drink kombucha and a bunch of other crap. Well, I wouldn't say pretend, but like, who dumps a million dollars into a project without getting lawyers and paperwork involved.

Eventually the owner or creator or whatever, Dave, gets caught and taken to jail (my dibs on Jane and or Zoe calling it in) and Andrew walks away.
Without any of his money.
And I know it's just a book but who the fuck does that?

ZOE & JANE

Zoe and Jane and are married and in the beginning it seems like they're headed for divorce.
Long story short they just needed to talk shit out and after rediscovering sex, they're on the same team again.

RUBY & HARRY

Ruby is Zoe & Jane's daughter who has sort of a "wild" reputation and Harry is Andrew & Elizabeth's kid who is the complete opposite of Ruby but they end up "falling in love."
Til he proposes and she takes off to Mexico to sail a boat and then ends up doing other shit. (Mind you he's younger than her and on his senior year oh high school when he "proposed.")

Honestly the way that Andrew first talked about Harry, I swear I thought he was a special needs kid (I'm sorry of that sounds messed up because I in no way intended it in a bad way) but it turns out he's kind of just a nerd (all of their words) he likes to just stay home and chill.

Anyways he "defends" Ruby from Dust at her graduation given that it's never mentioned what happened for him to need to defend her other than a scream and that's where they start.
i feel like they made Dust seem more menacing than he was. besides what im about to mention, he wasn't really anything. they built him up just to show that he ended up being a person of success.

This is out of nowhere but I thought I should mention because wtf!? But one of Ruby's "friends" either Sarah or Dust set fire to Ruby's mom's restaurant.
He tells her it was Sarah and Sarah tells her it was him.
Either way no one gets turned in, which ....????....but it's like, to me,
These People have  money and it doesn't matter to them that it goes to waste. 

Idk that was weird.

but i did like that for once the girl was the "bad" influence and the guy was the one doing all the lovey-dovey crap.

MY THOUGHTS
(just thoughts on the book itself)

This one is difficult.
Cause I liked the book but I feel like nothing really happened til like after 200+ pages.
I get the marriage crisis, getting older concept, but I feel like for the longest time Elizabeth was just fighting herself about whether she did the right thing by marrying Andrew so young. 
I've never been married so I can't say I understand what that's like but I feel like it dragged on for too long.

Zoe and Jane just needed to talk (or have sex) to basically fix their issues and I just, 😧, that was another hot mess.

Ruby did whatever she wanted with no accountability to her actions and I know parents usually let kids get away with crap but come on.
And Harry, well, i don't know. I don't know what I could even say about him. He was a sweetheart, kinda dorky but his heart in a good place. just ridiculously sheltered even if his parents feel like crap 90% of the time for not giving the kid more. 

It was a good story overall, I just feel like a lot of issues were left unresolved.
For example: did Andrew ever get his money back? And did Ruby ever tell her parents? and Harry....and Elizabeth. And I guess Andrew and her are okay but we never really touched on that again.
It does give you endings for everyone at the end of the book, but it doesn't answer those few questions and I guess it bugs me a little bit.

I don't know, anyway, I'll leave you with some quotes.


"Choices were easy to make until you realized how long life could be." 

-Elizabeth complaining about marriage to Andrew.  Pg 29


"There was nothing about youth that was fair: the youth hasn't done anything to deserve it, and the old hadn't done anything to drive it away." 

-Andrew complaining about basically having an easy fucking life and going through a midlife crisis (didn't mark the page).


"Elizabeth understood why so many people believed in God---- it was for precisely this reason, so they'd never have to close their eyes and think, "What the fuck did I do to my life?"......."

-Elizabeth complaining about life. Pg 317


thanks for reading!

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