Leaving Los Angeles and a relationship that wasn't right for her, Ree decided to move to Chicago with a few months at home in Oklahoma to recharge. She moved back in with her parents and set about readying herself for life in the Windy City. One night out at a bar with her friends, she spots a cowboy across the room and is immediately drawn to him with his Wranglers, his prematurely grey hair, and his cowboy boots. Meeting the Marlboro Man that night forever changed her life in ways she never expected. Several months later and mere weeks before her planned move to Chicago, he called her and they went out on their first date. Ree chronicles their budding love affair even as her parents' marriage is crumbling and the tension at home is enough to make her question the reality of lasting love. She also describes the culture shock she faces as she becomes more and more involved in life on a working cattle ranch.
It is clear that the bulk of the book was written as short blog posts. There is a lot of repetition both in her descriptions of Marlboro Man physically and in what they do (lots and lots and lots of kissing and cuddling, mixed in with more kissing and cuddling). There was no doubt from the first kiss that he made her toes curl and her ovaries jump for joy and while the constant repetition made it clear how attracted they were to each other, it was a little much at times. The courtship phase of their relationship was definitely more elaborate than the first year of their marriage. In fairness, as Ree suffered from serious, debilitating morning sickness for many of the first months, there probably wasn't a whole lot to tell from that portion of time but it felt a little as if the marriage got short shift compared to the dating.
As happy as she and Marlboro Man were (are), sadness and stress did invade their seemingly charmed world but much of it was downplayed and dropped nearly immediately. When Ree runs over her beloved dog Puggy Sue, she is devastated but goes on her date that night anyway. She agonizes over her parents' failing marriage but mainly drops it in the rosy glow of her own love. And when Marlboro Man's aunt dies of breast cancer not long after their wedding, Ree feels out of place and saddened by the family's grief but moves on to other tales almost immediately. Even when their finances take a terrible hit while she and Marlboro Man are on their honeymoon, she glosses over the anxiety and stress that must have dogged them across Australia.
Despite the sometimes immature, superficial feel to the emotion, this is still a sweet story about an abiding love and the radical adjustments a person is willing to make for "The One." Ree is funny and just as willing to show herself at her worst as she is at her best. She can laugh at herself, her misconceptions, and the almost unbelievable situations in which she finds herself. Fans of her blog will definitely see the Ree they know and love in this memoir and those who don't know her yet will appreciate her cheerful, girl next door accessibility even if by the end they might yearn for a little less sweet and a little more depth.
For more information about Ree Drummond and the book visit her blog, Facebook, or follow her on Twitter. Follow the rest of the blog tour or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.
Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.