Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 341 pages, 2009

Rating: 8/10

Reason for Reading: My love of chick-lit; I liked the title.

Synopsis: Eight months pregnant, Eve is shattered to discover that her husband, Jonathon, has been having an affair. But not a physical one: an emotional one, an affair that left Eve lonely and wondering why her husband didn’t turn to her for support or even just the breezy flirting and special details of his day that he started sharing with another woman instead of her. Hurt and betrayed, Eve has to decide whether or not her marriage can be salvaged – and how much of the blame might fall on her own shoulders.

Why you should read this book: The idea of an ’emotional affair’ might seem a bit strange to you, or not as important as a physical one…but if we don’t have an emotional connection in our relationships, what do we have? Shumas explores this question through Eve and Jonathon, a tense situation made even more so by the fact that Jonathon chose to have this affair while his wife was pregnant. You might start the book thinking you know where things are headed, but sometimes the only way for people to solve problems in their relationships is for both people to work on things, and Eve definitely has some work of her own to do. Ideal for anyone looking for a lot of introspection regarding relationships and what each individual brings to the table.

Why you should avoid this book: There should have been more things happening in the book; lots of time was spent with Eve dithering back and forth obsessively, snooping and doing little else, until you start to wonder if there is a reason her husband had an emotional affair – maybe Eve needed a life. Not to say it isn’t realistic; it’s just a bit much to read about it when there isn’t anything else happening.

Opening paragraph:

Some years, I gaze around the Thanksgiving table and I feel almost painfully grateful for my own bounty, for the abundance that is my life, for everything that brought me to this moment, with these people, inside this light.

Fabulous quotes:

‘Oh. I’m sorry.’ When I didn’t say anything, he went on, ‘I just wanted to tell you how bad I feel about everything, and how truly, truly sorry I am. I’m willing -‘
I asked him for space, and he couldn’t even give me that much. ‘I don’t need you calling every day to tell me the same things. You should feel bad. You got caught having an affair and you got kicked out of your house.’ My voice was rising, and the throngs of people closest to me glanced over furtively. Costco performance art, that’s what I’d become.

‘I know you’re disappointed. I know you really wanted to see your daddy tonight. But you’re going to see Aunt Tamara and Uncle Clayton instead. You always have fun there.’
‘No! I want to see Daddy!’
‘I bet Aunt Tamara and Uncle Clayton would watch a movie with you. I bet they haven’t seen -‘
He started crying, that furious full-body crying that always makes you embarrassed for parents at the supermarket, the kind that makes you think, They should give that little boy less sugar, or Why don’t they discipline him? Despite my best efforts, the past weeks had been hard on Jacob, and it was heartbreaking to see him turning into that boy.

Also recommended: Your Roots are Showing by Elise Chidley; The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes; A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand.

Also by this author: Five Things I Can’t Live Without.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Shumas is a practicing marriage and family therapist, and states on her website that ‘one of the toughest things in the world is remaining emotionally connected to another person for the long haul.’

Would I read more by this author? Maybe, if I thought there might be a little more action going on in the book.

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2009

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