Someone Else's Love Story
Summary (from Goodreads): At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Catholic mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up in a gas station mini-mart and falling in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who willingly steps between the armed robber and her son.
Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.
Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, in a funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness,; about a virgin birth, a sacrifice, and a resurrection; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. It’s a novel about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need
Review: Hmmm, this was truly a weird story and I'm having a hard time describing exactly how I feel about it. It started out bizarre and confusing, with strange characters falling in love during an armed robbery (really?), but as I got to know the characters, I started to really enjoy their individual voices and histories. William's character seemed to drift a little towards the end of the book, though. Even the minor characters were delightfully quirky and realistic, and as you should know by now, I love characters with eccentricities. However.... it did seem like a young teenage mom with a genius child, falling in love with a brilliant Asperger's biotechnologist, with a perfect poet male friend and a loud-mouthed blunt female friend, a reserved and judgmental Catholic mother, an unfaithful and doting Jewish father, and a cold and pretentious stepmother was really A LOT of coincidental character quirkiness in one book.
On to the story, then. On one hand, it was oddly compelling, and I didn't want to stop reading it, even though it dealt with my absolute least favorite subject to read about. But there were parts that didn't feel quite right. First, Shandi had two separate major epiphanies about her life in this book, and while I felt like the first was possibly plausible due to being in a life-or-death situation, the second seemed a little too quick and convenient a way to wrap up the book. Don't get me wrong, this second epiphany seemed completely right and a good fit for her character, it just happened much much too quickly with absolutely no explanation of how her mind got there. Second, (and I can't figure out how to say this without it being a spoiler, but if you have any common sense you'd have figured it out really quickly anyway), I just didn't feel comfortable with the description of the date rape. The author did a great job presenting how both characters felt, and making both characters seem sympathetic and real, but I think that was my problem. Overall, I felt like what the boy did was wrong, and I didn't want to feel sympathetic towards him, but I couldn't help it. Third, there is quite a twist towards the end of the book that relied solely on the author's wordplay throughout the book, and it felt a little cheap. Don't get me wrong, I quite liked the twist, it just felt like the author was saying "HA HA! I tricked you with my cleverness!" But perhaps I am reading way too much into her motivations.
So, to sum up, I really enjoyed reading this book and debated putting it on my list of best books of the year, but decided that the lack of explanation around the ending caused me to knock it down to 4 stars.
Rating: 4 stars