This week, we’re looking at a tale of the entire life cycle of a marriage which is told in a rare and possibly unique manner. This week, we’re looking at The Ingredients of Us from debut author Jennifer Gold.
Overall, the book is an interesting if slightly depressing look at the entire life cycle of a marriage, told via a present day storyline and multiple flash backs to various events. Stylistically, this book uses dates rather than chapter numbers, always with a reference to a particular event as the anchor. And while it works to an extent, it also leaves the reader a bit confused as the dates jump all over the place with no discernible order and little contextual clues as to what may be coming.
But my one real quibble with the book is that the author doesn’t seem to know of the existence of childfree people or the nascent movement to get such people more recognition and equal rights. Instead, the central conflict comes down to one partner wanting kids and having left a former spouse over the issue vs the other partner being childfree and yet not knowing or recognizing it, and instead agonizing over what they could do differently despite the fact that they really don’t want kids. In this manner, while the book at least addresses an issue not commonly seen in fiction these days, it does so in a bit of blundering and arguably even bigoted fashion where it could have been transcendental had it been handled a bit better.
Truly a very much recommended book, even with the childfree issue. Very much looking forward to more from this author… maybe even a follow on tale with this very couple… 😉
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Excellent Recipe From a Debut Author. This story uses dates rather than chapter numbers, which can be a bit confusing but clearly establishes when each event is taking place. As a story, it works well to show the full cycle of a marriage and all of the messiness that goes into it.
The one quibble I have as a childfree person is that the author never allows Elle, the main character, to truly be comfortable with what she knows about herself.