F This book is April book for the Author's by the Alphabet Book Club as members read our way through the alphabet by authors' last names. Still Life With Husband by Lauren Fox was chosen by BookBelle, this month's host of the book club who blogs at BookBelle. :) For links to other reviews of this book, as well as to check out our discussion of the novel, visit BookBelle's blog HERE. If you'd like to join the Authors by the Alphabet Book Club, we'd love to have you. Visit the sign up post HERE.
While having lunch with her best friend in their favorite coffee shop, Emily--who is not wearing her wedding ring at the time-- meets David Keller, a journalist for an alternative local newspaper with whom she shares an instant, electric connection. Emily and David meet again under the guise of discussing a potential job opportunity for Emily at the newspaper for whom David works, and the two spend hours talking and practically falling for each other as if they were on a spectacular first date. Emily is fully aware that she is crossing the lines of fidelity to her husband and at the same time also dishonest with David as she is slow to reveal her marital status to him. Inevitably, Emily has committed the first of many betrayals that ultimately lead to more poor decisions with irrevocable consequences.
Still Life with Husband is told from the first person point of view of Emily as she wends her way through the mess she makes of her life over several weeks. That's not to say that Emily was not already dissatisfied with her life, however the choices she makes specifically during this time frame actually force her to own up to what really wants out of life. The novel primarily centers on Emily's struggles with her marriage to Kevin, her conflicted feelings of her infidelity, the consequences of her decisions and how she handles it all. It's also about Emily learning to essentially take charge of her own happiness. There are also well crafted story threads involving Emily's relationships with her best friend Meg, her sister Heather and her parents, all of which added richness to Emily's story.
Still Life With Husband is adeptly written in an extremely compelling, articulate and very expressive voice. There's both fantastic humor and depth of emotion at every page and while the plot is not complicated, not once did it feel the least bit predictable and was, in fact, quite the page turner. I didn't want to put the book down, and when I did, I kept wondering what Emily was going to think, feel or do next. What were the consequences of those actions going to be, who was going to get hurt, and how was Emily going to straighten out her life? Would she even straighten out her life? What good could possibly come of this? All I could do was to keep reading.
Truthfully, when I read the book blurb after it was announced as the April book club selection, I was hesitant to read a novel about infidelity. I didn't want to empathize with a protagonist who was cheating on her husband and even worse, I was afraid that the author would glorify infidelity as a whole in some way. Thankfully, neither of those things happened, which I think is a testament to the author's skill at sharing Emily's journey in a way the she could be your sister or your friend. You like her, you know her, you even came to completely understand her even though you don't agree with her actions and yet through it all ... you were there for her.
Still Life With Husband is Lauren Fox's first novel. Her second novel, Friends Like Us, is due to hit shelves in February 2012.