The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum

When I was reading this, Mike said, “Why isn’t the book just called Hate?” Funny guy. But, you know, we had a good discussion about what the opposite of love might be. I suggested fear and selfishness. Mike quoted Elie Wiesel, saying that it’s indifference.

The Opposite of Love is about Emily, a lawyer who seems to enjoy breaking her own heart. She broke up with her boyfriend Andrew because he was about to propose. She can’t find the courage to stand up to her lecherous boss. She and her father continue to drift apart. She can’t face the idea that her beloved grandfather is sick. Though, of course, Emily has a big turning point, this book is more about the breaking and the new beginning as Emily turns from fear and selfishness (see, I was right!), which is why I liked it so much.

I will say that I thought the book went off the rails a bit about a quarter of the way in, so much that I got a little bit of anxiety reading it. But that can be common for me with chick lit, and the plot was, in many ways, straightforward chick lit. What saved it for me were the secondary characters, especially her grandfather’s friend Ruth. I also felt that Emily’s neuroses were realistic and understandable, and that she was truly trying to change and make a difference. There was a depth to the story that I appreciated. I don’t give this a wholehearted recommendation, but I did stay up late reading it. And you know how I like my sleep.

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