Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review: I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

Modern marriage presupposes monogamy. But there are always voices out there arguing that monogamy is not natural, that we are genetically programmed to practice polyamory instead. Whether we should stay faithful to one person or be free to find multiple partners will probably remain up for debate for a long time. There's no debating though, that when discussing infidelity, there is a vast difference in how we think of women who cheat versus men who cheat. Eliza Kennedy's novel, I Take You, looks, on the surface, like fluffy chick lit, but it is also a deeper examination of our societal expectations and requirement for monogamy for women in a relationship.

Lily is getting married. Her fiancé Will is perfect, handsome, and loving. Lily is flighty, cheeky, and a serial philanderer. She's not sure if she loves Will or not. If she loved him, wouldn't she be willing and able to give up all the other guys she just can't keep her hands off of? Maybe she's not ready to get married after all. As her wedding looms ever closer, she has these small panic attacks about what the right thing to do is. Add to that the fact that her job as an attorney in a big New York law firm is crazy right now and her boss, with whom she is sleeping (naturally), has asked her to postpone her wedding so she can be the lead on a vitally important deposition that could cost the firm's client big time. Even Lily's collection of irreverent, kooky, eccentric family (her mother, several stepmothers, and her grandmother) think she should call off the wedding. But Lily is stubborn. She might be waffling herself, and trying to seduce members of the wedding party while she's at it, but if so many people think she shouldn't marry Will, it makes her all the more determined to go ahead with it.

As Lily careens from one sexcapade to another, she is also sweating it out over her job and the jeopardy it is in when she meets with the worst witness possible given the client her firm is defending. In order to get what she needs from the deposition, she will have to learn to be true to herself and to trust her own crazy instincts, the same lesson she needs to learn in her relationship life. Lily is generally a silly character, one who wants to examine the idea of love and the importance of fidelity but who doesn't quite come across as smart enough to do so. It's hard to be sympathetic to her when she's faced with losing Will because of her repeated infidelities but this difficulty on the reader's side highlights the sexual double standard to which we hold women. Lily may be over the top but in many ways, she's behaving in ways that we would excuse in a man. Lily's father's inability to stay monogamous comes across as comedic where her own similar behavior leads to censure and to great unhappiness on her part, something patently unfair. The setting of Key West helps further the rather wacky, outlandish feel to the novel. And the end, with its unexpectedness, feels completely appropriate to this novel. The issues of monogamy, how to really recognize love, truth, and trust make this an interesting read. Be warned though that Lily is a partier and a hook-up queen, and she is likely to offend some sensibilities for sure.

Thanks to the publisher and LibraryThing Early Reviewers for sending me a copy of the book to read.

1 comment:

  1. Doesn't really sound like my type of read, but extra points to Kennedy for tackling the double standard women face when it comes to non-monogamy. Glad you enjoyed it!


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