Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Book Review: Soulmates


About Soulmates

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 13, 2017)

 "For anyone who has ever suspected something sinister lurking behind the craze of new-age spirituality, Jessica Grose has crafted just the tale for you. With the delicious bite of satire and the page-turning satisfaction of a thriller, Soulmates is a deeply compelling, funny and sharply observed look at just how far we will go to achieve inner peace." ~Lena Dunham 

A clever, timely novel about a marriage, and infidelity, the meaning of true spirituality, perception and reality from the author of Sad Desk Salad, in which a scorned ex-wife tries to puzzle out the pieces of her husband's mysterious death at a yoga retreat and their life together. It's been two years since the divorce, and Dana has moved on. She's killing it at her law firm, she's never looked better, thanks to all those healthy meals she cooks, and she's thrown away Ethan's ratty old plaid recliner. She hardly thinks about her husband~ex-husband~anymore, or about how the man she'd known since college ran away to the Southwest with a yoga instructor, spouting spiritual claptrap that Dana still can't comprehend.

But when she sees Ethan's picture splashed across the front page of the New York Post -"Nama-Slay: Yoga Couple Found Dead in New Mexico Cave"- Dana discovers she hasn't fully let go of Ethan or the past. The article implies that it was a murder-suicide, and Ethan's to blame. How could the man she once loved so deeply be a killer? Restless to find answers that might help her finally to let go, Dana begins to dig into the mystery surrounding Ethan's death. Sifting through the clues of his life, Dana finds herself back in the last years of their marriage . . . and discovers that their relationship (like EthanĂ­s death) wasn't what it appeared to be. A novel of marriage, meditation, and all the spaces in between, Soulmates is a page-turning mystery, a delicious satire of our feel-good spiritual culture, and a nuanced look at contemporary relationships by one of the sharpest writers working today.


 

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Photo by Judith Ebenstein

About Jessica Grose

Jessica Grose is a writer and editor. She was previously a senior editor at Slate and an editor at Jezebel. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Glamour, Marie Claire, Spin, and several other publications, and on Salon.com. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. Find out more about Jessica at her website, and connect with her on Twitter.


My Review

I almost didn't agree to review this book  knowing what July is typically like for our family, but I'm so happy I did because I was very pleasantly surprised: I read it in one day.  It wasn't what I expected at all.  The book is [very] loosely based on a true story about a couple -whose relationship to each other and their New Age spirituality-went off the rails.  So I was expecting a story about what went wrong with Ethan and "Amaya," but what I wasn't expecting was how scorned ex-wife Dana loses sight of her original goal to prove her ex Ethan innocent of murder/suicide.

Dana is a complicated character.  She's very capable in the courtroom and boardroom, but her professional focus is a sharp contrast to her role as a wife.  From the first chapter  I was completely on Team Dana...until the second chapter from Ethan's point of view made me slightly more sympathetic to him.  Grose's characterization and multiple points of view (organized per chapter) make the story engrossing and are necessary for seeing a more complete picture. Unusual and unexpected plot points guaranteed my family a crappy leftover dinner Sunday night because I couldn't stop reading.

Every woman should read this book.  I think it's a great beach or lake read, but it also makes the reader think; that's why I highly recommend it for book clubs.  Grose did her homework researching cults, yoga, and religious leaders.  What she found is that all cult leaders use the same strategies to control their followers, and unfortunately people are sheep and easily led.  So the moral of the story: don't be a sheep.

On a sidenote:  Our daughter LOVES Lena Dunham, and she's a subscriber to the email newsletter Lenny.  Jessica Grose is the editor in chief of Lenny, so I'm sending her my copy to her because she will totally have a fangirl moment and immediately read the book.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


6 comments:

  1. This sounds intriguing. All that "new age" stuff has never appealed to me, and it has been around for most of my adult life. I am adding this one to my list!

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  2. Sounds like a great summer read. Have a great new week.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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  3. I hope your family wasn't too upset about their dinner ... some days you just HAVE to read!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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  4. Sounds fascinating! And goes to show that truth is stranger than fiction...

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  5. I just read this book this week Ricki Jill. It interested me on a personal level because my son's ex-wife is a yoga fanatic. She took the occasional class before they got married, but once they wed, she went all in, taking classes all day, going to retreats etc. Even got him to go with her to New Mexico, yes New Mexico! to a week long camp thing. I always felt she was brainwashed and that what she was doing was cult like. Sadly their marriage only lasted 5 years, but she changed so much it wasn't possible for them to stay together. Now she is remarried a man who wears a turban and lives off her trust fund. My grandsons like him, but I do worry about the influences they are under when they are with her. This book really fed explained a lot of my experiences with her! I enjoyed the author so much I read another book of hers, Sad Desk Salad. It's about a blogger, which was fun. But she wasn't blogging occasionally, she had to post about 6 times a day! With deadlines of less than an hour sometimes! Yikes! It was a fun read too! Thanks so much for your great and honest reviews!
    Jenna

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