Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
(Summary taken from the first page of the book) "At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college; raising her delightful three-year-old genius son, Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo; and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Christian mother and Jewish father. She's got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stickup in a gas station minimart 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, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know. Someone Else's Love Story is Joshilyn Jackson's 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."
The characters in this book are well done. Each has a distinctive voice and personality. I had a bunch of guy friends in high school and college, so I could definitely picture the relationship between Shandi and Walcott. I loved the love that Shandi had for her son. I loved that she was trying to finish college and not let a teenage pregnancy rule the rest of her life. Walcott was one of my favorite characters. I thought he just seemed so nice, helpful, kind, considerate, patient, and gentlemanly. William was harder to read. I couldn't ever quite figure him out, but at the same time I thought he was genuinely sincere and had a good heart. I liked the impulsively nice things he did, like putting himself between the robber and Shandi's son Natty. Oh, Natty. I loved him. So cute and smart!!! Three is a hard age, but a fun one too. I had a hard time getting used to Ms. Jackson's writing style, and had to reread a few sentences to understand them, but by about half-way through I didn't notice it as much, and got sucked into the story. It's not the easiest writing style to read, but it got easier the more I read. I didn't like how she jumped from character to character. Sometimes it was in the character's mind and sometimes it was not in the other character's mind. I think it felt choppy and it took me a few sentences each time to figure out where we were. I ended up liking the story, ok. It came together well and there were some surprises at the end that completely got me! I liked how Shandi and William were able to move past some very difficult situations to find what they needed. Both of them showed personal growth; it was good to see. Although, I'm not quite sure her decision to maybe forgive at the end was realistic, especially without the whole truth. The lessons of accepting the past and moving forward, and figuring out what you really need are poignant. I wished it went on just a few more pages....I wanted a little bit more info at the end, but it was ok. I did enjoy the story in the end, but it did take me awhile to get into her writing style. I also figured out half the ending. I know, half, right? Well, the other half was one of the surprises.
It's a good thing the story was good because the language was awful. There is a lot of profanity in this book, especially the "f" word. There is also a lot of talk of, and discussions about, "intimacy." There is a rape that is discussed and a lot of "intimacy" scenes and discussion. It's not put delicately either. College frat initiations, high school boys that have reputations, that kind of thing, and it's quite detailed. You've probably read enough of my reviews to know that I'm not a huge fan of this. I did find parts of this book offensive, and the language was too much for me. But, I know I'm kind of by myself in this regard. The story was good, but it would have been so much better without the language and "intimacy." I know, some of it may have been necessary to set up histories and personalities, but for me it was too much. Putting all that aside, I did enjoy getting sucked into Shandi and William's worlds. I think I can learn their lessons and try each day to make my marriage stronger, not take for granted the loved ones in my life, and help make the world a better place.
**Update!!! I originally posted this review on 11/12/13, but I'm reposting it today because it comes out in paperback this week, and the publisher asked if I could help her get the word out!!!**
Rating: R (This does not follow the movie ratings exactly, it is just my way of saying it is not appropriate for younger readers.) Language, especially the "f" word, rape, intimacy scenes and discussions about, a robbery with a gun, and violence.
Recommendation: Adult. This book is not appropriate for younger readers.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.