Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson

When Allie Crawford married her charismatic Peter Pan husband, Wade, was she in love with him or was she just in love with the idea of him? The idea that he would provide her with a safe harbor and financial stability? The idea that his impressive gravitational pull would always be there and she would be the only insider in that orbit? After more than a decade of marriage and facing hurdles that she never expected to face, Allie is about to learn more about her husband and herself and to figure out just what she wants out of life.

Allie is fantastic at her job in PR but it's not what she ever imagined or wanted to be doing. She wanted to be writing her own fiction or screenplays, not writing copy to benefit the movers and shakers in the entertainment industry and society. Her husband, Wade, is the editor of a glossy topical magazine called Meter, and he has his finger in many New York City pies. They have two children and live a good life. They may not be as wealthy as Allie's clients or Wade's contacts and advertisers and Allie regrets the amount of time she spends away from her beloved children but they are content. Or at least Allie thinks they are. But there are cracks in the happy fa├žade. Allie and Wade are struggling as a couple. The magazine is losing advertisers and Wade is fighting hard to stay relevant, both personally and professionally, in the recession. But this is a stressor that they could likely weather, until Allie finds Wade coming out of their locked laundry room during a party, followed shortly thereafter by a young and gorgeous blonde woman.  She is incredibly hurt and angered.  And this is not Wade's first indiscretion.

As devastated as Allie is by her newfound knowledge, she agrees to talk to Jackie, the blonde woman, and she discovers that Wade's ever present evasions go far past simple infidelity. He's somehow gotten mixed up in something shady that includes Allie's blustery boss, Murray, and one of their clients, Max, a thugish Texas parking garage magnate newly released from prison for tax evasion. But Allie has no idea of the extent of Wade's involvement or what exactly all of this means for her and the kids. At the same time she is grappling with whether or not to believe and cooperate with this young woman, she is questioning the very foundations of her marriage. She is wildly attracted to someone in her screenwriting class and she flirts with an affair while steadfastly telling herself that all she wants is friendship. Her longtime best friend, soul mate, and perhaps the man for whom she should have waited is also suddenly more present in her life than before as well. And so many of her insecurities and desires about the competing men in her life are tied up with the early death of her father in a plane crash that Allie herself survived. Plain and simple, Allie is a mess; she doesn't know what she wants nor if she ever did.

The novel's tension stems from several questions: what will Allie do about her marriage with Wade, what will she discover about his shady dealings with Jackie's help, and how can she finally be true to herself? Allie is a bit of a wishy-washy character so her first person narration can make the reader want to take her by the shoulders and shake some sense and intelligence into her. She makes bad choices and is forever second guessing just about everything and everyone in her life. Wade is a completely reprehensible, narcissistic character and that makes it tough to see how he stays the center of Allie's universe or why others are so drawn to him. Jackie's is cryptic and world-weary, something that is a bit out of character for a twenty something in graduate school, no matter how savvy. And how she stumbled on and was then instantly privy to the sort of information she feeds to Allie teasing, tantalizing piece by tantalizing piece is never even hinted at and feels quite unrealistic. There is no real question as to how the novel is going to end up so the characters would have to carry the plot, which they don't quite pull off here. The narration's time leaps forwards and backwards can be quite choppy and jarring although they do serve to explain why Allie is so willing to let life be dictated to her rather than making her own happy future. And there are just too many aspects being covered here. All of the issues in Allie's life might actually occur in a real person's life but in a fictional world, there's just one too many threads. There are questions of life/work balance here and how a woman can stand on her own two feet but the answers as provided are buried in a frustrating read that felt longer than it was.  I wanted to like this one a lot but I just couldn't love it although others certainly have and do.

For more information about Holly Peterson and the book, check out her website, her Facebook page, 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.


  1. Darn, I'm sorry this one didn't work for you but thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. I have to admit that even though it didn't work for you, the way you wrote and summarized it makes me want to read it even more :D


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