The One That Got Away - Book Review
Meet Abbey Lahey . . .
Overworked mom. Underappreciated publicist. Frazzled wife of an out-of-work landscaper. A woman desperately in need of a vacation from life--and who is about to get one, thanks to an unexpected tumble down a Nordstrom escalator.
Meet Abbey van Holt . . .
The woman whose life Abbey suddenly finds herself inhabiting when she wakes up. Married to handsome congressional candidate Alex van Holt. Living in a lavish penthouse. Wearing ball gowns and being feted by the crème of Philadelphia society. Luxuriating in the kind of fourteen-karat lifestyle she's only read about in the pages of Town & Country.
The woman Abbey might have been . . . if she had said yes to a date with Alex van Holt all those years ago.
In the tradition of the romantic comedy Sliding Doors and Lionel Shriver'sThe Post-Birthday World, Leigh Himes's irresistible debut novel tells the funny and touching story of an ordinary woman offered an extraordinary opportunity to reboot her life, explore the road not taken, and ultimately, find her true self--whoever that may be.
As a starting point, it is worth mentioning that I really enjoyed The One That Got Away – even more than I thought I would. Upon first reading the synopsis, I viewed this as what most would call a “good beach read”. It seemed light and fun. What I actually got was a deep searching novel about what makes you happy in life... and how that shapes you.
Abbey, the main character, is unhappy in her current life and after a fall in Nordstrom she awakes as the same Abbey but in a different life. It follows what her life would have been like if she married someone else – someone from her past. What I found interesting about this novel was that she had the same children and same friends as in her previous life. Yet, had a completely different relationship with them because of the difference in circumstances. That is what I found most compelling about this read – the fact that each decision and choice we make is a butterfly effect. While each choice may seem small, it ripples out and effects far beyond. I have always found that to be an interesting concept because you never know what life would be if you had made different choices and this is what this book explores. Abbey finds that her best friend is now not even an acquaintance and her children behave in ways she never would have accepted previously. It is devastating to her – all while trying to figure out what has happened and what she wants.
The only part I had an “issue” with was with both of her husbands (previous life and new life). I was not a fan of either of them so I found myself unable to root for which Abbey I liked better. I understood regular Abbey and her day-to-day struggles – but new Abbey was glamorous and confident even with her less than ideal change in perspective. I think if either husband had put in a bit more effort, I would have been swayed one way or the other.
In the end, Abbey makes her choice in regards to the life she wants to live and is able to do so with the conviction to make her life better and happier.