Yesterday I finished reading The Opposite of Love , a debut novel by Julie Buxbaum. I enjoyed it, as I enjoy most novels, probably because they're the only place where people allow themselves to fall apart. This particular novel was about a twenty-nine-year-old lawyer named Emily Haxby. The three most important things about her are that her mother died of cancer when she was fourteen, she hates her job defending evil corporations at a prestigious law firm, and she dumped her boyfriend, whom she loved, because she was afraid he would leave her first. It had all the makings of a "chick lit" book but wasn't, its depth punctuated by the discussion questions at the back.
To me, this story was unique because it managed to be poignant and realistic while still delivering a happy ending. My favorite part is when Emily interviews for a job as a pro bono family lawyer, and her boss-to-be wants to know why she wants the position. Emily says, "Because if I am going to spend at least seventy-five percent of my waking hours doing something, I want that something to have meaning. I am tired of wasting my time. I am starting to realize that I want my life to matter in every way that it can" (Buxbaum 291). Admittedly, this part is a little unrealistic because it's one of those things that most people think but never say. That's part of what makes it so great, though; it gives the reader hope that people, like characters, can break out of their pre-programmed shells. In a way, Emily's declaration is echoed by the author's own experience. Like Emily, she was a dissatisfied lawyer. Only, she took things a step further, giving up law altogether to write fiction. How could a reader not be charmed by such a fairy talesque yet real life parallel?
Thanks for indulging me in this post and others like it. I was an English major who never quite got over writing about books. This blog provides a nice venue for my musings. On a lighter (and unrelated) note, most of the shoes I ordered online recently are a little too small. I'm wearing a pair today anyway, my toes crunched in like little mutilated badges of honor.