Title: The Opposite of Love
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Release Date: January 29, 2008
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 5 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
When successful twenty-nine year old Manhattan attorney Emily Haxby ends her happy relationship just as her boyfriend is on the verge of proposing, she can’t explain to even her closest friends why she did it. Somewhere beneath her sense of fun, her bravado, and her independent exterior, Emily knows that her breakup with Andrew has less to do with him and more to do with…her. “You’re your own worst enemy,” her best friend Jess tells her. “It’s like you get pleasure out of breaking your own heart.”
As the holiday season looms and Emily contemplates whether she made a huge mistake, the rest of her world begins to unravel: she is assigned to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit where she must defend the very values she detests by a boss who can’t keep his hands to himself; her Grandpa Jack, a charming feisty octogenarian and the person she cares about most in the world, is losing it, while her emotionally distant father has left her to cope with this alone; and underneath it all, fading memories of her deceased mother remind her that love doesn’t last forever.
When I first heard about The Opposite of Love back when it was released, I thought it sounded good and added it to my ever-increasing list of books to be read. I pretty much forgot about it until I recently heard that it was being made into a movie with Anne Hathaway in the leading role. (My post about it). So I made it a point to read it, and I only have one question: Why did I wait so long to read this amazing book?
The Opposite of Love is charming, funny, sweet, and heart wrenching. It deals with love, loss, and the difficulty of life – sometimes it can be so hard to remember to live each day, rather than just exist. I can’t believe this is Julie Buxbaum’s first novel; she writes with the confidence and grace of someone who has been at it their entire life. It is beautifully written, but simple; the words don’t get in the way of the emotions she is trying to convey.
I loved the character of Emily. She is so damaged without even realizing it; she goes through life in denial, afraid of losing those she loves. While I was reading, her emotions were my emotions. I laughed when she laughed, was heartbroken when she was, and yes, I even cried when Emily cried. I was amazed at the way I was drawn into the character and into the book.
I think The Opposite of Love has something for everyone; Emily’s life basically comes crashing down as she has to deal with trouble in the workplace, her breakup with her boyfriend, and the deterioration of her beloved grandfather. It’s not your typical chick lit book; it is about love, but not the search for a boyfriend. Instead, the love described in the title is more general; it is the love of a father, a mother, a grandfather, a friend, and a boyfriend. It is about the fear of losing those close to you. I adored this novel and I can’t wait for Buxbaum’s next book.