With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…
Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all?
This was the first book I’ve read by Amanda Prowse, and let me tell you, it made me feel all the feels. It was a tearjerker of immense proportions. Despite how emotional I got while reading this, I had very mixed feelings overall.
A story about relationships and motherhood, The Idea of You is a window into the life of Lucy for a few years of her life. Although told in third person narrative through Lucy’s perspective, Prowse has given each character their own backstory, wants, and needs, which made for realistic interactions and relationships between them. There were moments where I empathized completely with Lucy and others where I wanted to reach into the book and strangle her, saying, “It’s not always all about you!”
What is curious to me given the author’s ability to write so realistically is Lucy and Tansy’s friendship. The first chapter starts out with Lucy at Tansy’s son’s christening, and she has been asked to be the godmother. Which is great, until we find out that Lucy doesn’t know any of Tansy’s other friends or family, and she is a work friend, and to top it off, Lucy is Tansy’s boss! This simply does not compute. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see myself asking a work friend who also happens to be my boss and not part of my life anywhere else to be a godparent to my child.
There were some other issues I had with this book. For starters, several topics relevant to our culture were brought up without being fleshed out in detail, including women “having it all,” misogyny, and gender roles. Also, the dialogue itself didn’t read the way that people speak. Lastly, I did see the hints of the big secret revealed near the end of the book, but it still seemed too sudden. A few more casual mentions dropped earlier in the story would have improved the pacing and plausibility for the reveal.
And yet, regardless of these issues, Prowse managed to tug on my heartstrings (and tear ducts) with great success. The Idea of You isn’t something I would ever re-read myself, but if emotional family dramas are your thing, maybe check this one out. Just be warned the subject matter of miscarriage here is intense.
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.