At first glance, Amanda Prowse’s The Idea of You appears to be a tale of overcoming struggle. In a way, Prowse keeps this theme strong throughout the course of her novel. Faced with an emotionally devastating hardship on numerous occasions, Lucy Carpenter learns to deal with the misfortunes in her life, developing in herself immense tenacity throughout the course of the book. Prowse’s novel is one of overcoming struggle, finding strength, and seeing the good in life that outshines the bad.
Struggles such as the one that Lucy Carpenter faces at the beginning of the novel often leave one emotionally distraught, and I found myself intrigued (albeit terrified) by the situation and how the characters handled it. While the book began slowly, I was genuinely feeling for the characters by the time things picked up. And then Lucy’s stepdaughter comes to visit.
From this point forward Prowse’s writing took a downturn for me. I began to hate both the main character and her husband, Jonah, while harboring only neutral feelings for the stepdaughter Camille. The novel took a rather predictable turn at the height of Lucy’s dismay, leaving me feeling rather underwhelmed.
I’ve said it before, and it pains me each time I have to repeat it; if your character is not well liked, your story is going to fail unless by some miracle the plot and prose are utterly exceptional.
Not only was Jonah incredibly unrealistic–I grew more and more wary of him with each page I turned–but his personality might have been saved had his dialogue been better written. I couldn’t quite get on board with the degree to which he seemed fake to me and every time he opened his mouth it just got worse.
Lucy, the main character, was likable at first but very quickly grew annoyingly irritating. She was constantly whining about something, always appearing naggy or jealous, and just would not stop with the ‘woe-is-me’ attitude. Now, considering the nature of the novel this was acceptable when it came to her biggest struggle, but incredibly frustrating to read over and over again with each different issue that cropped up.
On a separate note, I simply could not stand the repeated phrases of ‘my little girl,’ ‘I want our baby,’ and ‘my Lucy.’ After the first six times the phrases were used I began to cringe with each new repeat.
As for the twist to the story, I will admit that I did not see it coming and while I do admire that about this book, the direction in which Prowse took the plot was not one I cared for. What began as a book about the difficulties of miscarriage became something else entirely and in the end this is what ruined everything for me.
Overall the book was decent, but it just didn’t do it for me. While I respect and appreciate the idea and the emotion the book at times was able to portray, I am sure someone else somewhere has done a better job. My suggestion, honestly, to anyone interested in reading this book is to simply read the first half and stop at the predictable moment involving Camille. Aside from some minor complaints, the first half of the book is interesting and moving. Everything else the reader can fill in for themselves.
I was provided this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.