Tag Archives: I Couldn’t Love You More
No BEA this year? No problem!
Today, I am giving away some swag. Giveaway open to US residents only.
What is it? It’s a brand new, never read, pristine copy of Jillian Medoff’s “I Couldn’t Love You More.”
How to win it? In the book, Medoff names three sisters after some of her favorite authors: Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Plath, and George Eliot. If you were writing a book, which author would you name a character after and why?
I will choose the winner at random. Please give me a valid email address. Giveaway ends Friday at 3 pm ET.
No BEA? No problem!
I Couldn’t Love You More by Jillian Medoff (5 Spot; 432 pages; $13.99).
Cinderella had a stepmother, so did Snow White. Fairy tales, movies, and books often portray stepmothers as cruel, evil, ugly, and jealous women. In I Couldn’t Love You More, Jillian Medoff dispels stereotypes and simultaneously dazzles us through her protagonist, Eliot Gordon.
Eliot is a thirty-eight-year-old daughter, sister, mother, stepmother, and wife. But she is not married to Grant. Confused? So was I in the beginning, but it’s only semantics. Eliot refers to Grant as her “husband,” although they are not married. They have been together five years and raise three girls: Hailey, their four-year-old daughter, and Charlotte and Gail, fourteen and seven respectfully, Grant’s daughters. Grant has never asked Eliot to marry him, but they live like husband and wife. Eliot treats Charlotte and Gail as if they are her own children, especially since Beth, their mother, is flaky and clueless. Eliot loves all her girls, even the ones she did not give birth to.
Medoff tells the story from the first person perspective of Eliot. Her portrayal of Eliot is intimate. Medoff does a superb job of bringing her characters to life on these pages, but none more so than Eliot. She is very real and achingly relatable. Her strengths stand out; her flaws, though, are what really drive this story.
Eliot, by her own admission, is a “good girl.” Yes, she is. However, Eliot makes some bad decisions throughout Medoff’s story. Some condemn Eliot for her actions, while others sympathize. At its heart, this is a novel about the choices we make and their consequences, both short-term and long-term.
An old boyfriend resurfaces. The sparks fly. The presence of Finn distracts Eliot. Everyone notices, especially Charlotte. Eliot believes a week at the beach with her mother and sisters will help ease tension between her and Grant. While the girls play in the ocean, Eliot’s phone rings. It is Finn.
Her back is turned for one minute, maybe two. The unthinkable happens. Eliot is forced to make a choice: who should she save? Her real daughter? Or her stepdaughter? Medoff writes, “And this is what I know: I can swim in only one direction, toward one child…but I must make a choice and I must make it now.” Whatever the case, nothing will ever be the same again.
Despite its grim subject matter, Medoff intersperses humor throughout her novel. The hilarity in no way distracts from the story; instead, it adds to it. Sometimes, even in the grip of despair, life can be funny. Medoff makes me laugh and cry, once at the very same time. Never has mowing, pooping, or eating dog food sounded so funny. I applaud Medoff for telling the story in such a way.
Eliot is not the only character who stands out in this book. Her sister, Sylvia (named after Sylvia Plath), is often a scene-stealer. Eliot’s mother, Delores, is another of Medoff’s characters who demand your attention.
This is a story about love and family. But the novel is also about sisters. It matters little whether they are full, half, or even step. A sister is a sister for life. Medoff makes this only child wistful of the sisterly bond that Eliot and her sisters share.
I Couldn’t Love You More is women’s lit at its finest. This is a far cry from chick lit. Do not get me wrong: I am not disparaging chick lit in any way. This is a story for women. The issues Medoff writes about are subjects in which women deeply care about. This tale is about women written for women that happens to have been written by a woman.
I predict I Couldn’t Love You More will be the read of the summer. Medoff’s novel will be as essential to beach bags as sunscreen and beach towels.
My current read is Jillian Medoff’s I Couldn’t Love You More. It comes out on Tuesday and is already getting a lot of buzz.
It’s easy to understand why. Funny, poignant, compelling, and highly readable, I Couldn’t Love You More is about a harried mom, her crazy life, and the road not taken. Eliot’s college boyfriend shows back up after a looooong absence. Although she is happy being a “quasi-wife,” the grass is always greener, as the saying goes.
The real scene-stealers of this book are Sylvia, Eliot’s sister, and Beth, mother of her “step”-children.
Medoff reminds us not to take anything for granted and to appreciate what we have. Her novel will appeal to women this summer. I predict this will be as essential to beach bags as sunscreen and beach towels. This is women’s lit at its finest!
Happy May Day! Ah, May, warm weather, blooming flowers, plentiful sunshine, and good books. What more could we ask for?
May also brings us that most important of holidays: Mother’s Day.
Why not start a book club with your mom? Include your friends, your mom’s friends, and their moms. It’s a great way to get your nearest and dearest reading.
May I suggest these titles?
What to pick up now:
The Right-Hand Shore by Christopher Tilghman. This book is Book Passage’s Signed First Editions Club pick for May. Tilghman will be signing copies of his book and doing a reading at Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS, on May 16. The Right-Hand Shore is about race, class, forbidden love, family history and secrets all in the wake of the Civil War.
The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger. Boy, is this getting a lot of buzz! Amina moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York. She met George online and their marriage is an arranged one. In the nineteenth-century, Amina would have been called a mail-order bride. There is lots of hilarity, second guessing, and heartache in this one.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Fountain will read from and sign copies of his novel at Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS, on May 23. Billy and what is left of his unit are dubbed heroes after surviving a major battle in Iraq. They are invited to a Dallas Cowboys football game and participate in halftime in this funny and heartwrenching story.
All Woman and Springtime by Brandon W. Jones. North Korea, forced labor camps, a math prodigy, sex slavery. All these are topics in All Woman and Springtime, a novel that has been compared to Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha. This novel will join the ranks of other recent books whose setting or topic is North Korea. Should be interesting.
The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones. This is set at the turn of the last century in England and will appeal to Downton Abbey fans, of which I am one. A train wrecks, leaving passengers stranded. They seek refuge with a family. One of the passengers has a history with the lady of the house. Sounds intriguing.
The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of this one and let me tell you it is great! Be sure to check back soon for my interview with the author. Bullying, secret societies, insects, and Edward R. Murrow hallucinations make this a hit. The Year of the Gadfly will be released May 8.
Home by Toni Morrison. No one is like Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize. The first Morrison novel I read was The Bluest Eye, a book that not only made me cry but also made me think. Home explores the bonds of siblings and the aftermath of war. If it is anything like Morrison’s other work, it is sure to be a hit. It comes out May 8.
The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel. Set in Florida during the economic collapse, this novel is a literary noir with lots of jazz. Mandel explores the unreliability of memory in her novel, a very interesting topic. The Lola Quartet will be released May 15.
I Couldn’t Love You More by Jillian Medoff. Eliot is happy with her partner Grant and their three daughters, two of which are her stepdaughters. Then, an old love comes back into her life with shocking consequences. Medoff asks which of your children would you save if you could. This one could be THE summer’s biggest beach read. Look for it May 15.
What are you waiting for? Get to reading! And enjoy.