My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is one of very few books I have read that I feel realistically addresses the quirky, elusive, shocking, and sometimes painful subject of love. Perhaps it was the way Shields manipulated viewpoint by allowing the story to be told alternately by both Tom and Fay. Perhaps I loved the fact that the entire first half of the book led up to the meeting of these two protagonists, and that the background knowledge gained about the characters this way allowed their "love at first site" encounter to seem more the result of life circumstances (and an aversion to loneliness) than some sort of romantic ideal. Perhaps I loved the way Shields illustrated other couples' relationship through both Fay's and Tom's eyes. Or perhaps I simply loved Shields' refusal to make the ignorant bliss of courtship as ignorant or blissful as lovers wish it were.
This book was full of realism, and because I believed in its characters, because I understood and related to their their doubts and disappointments, I stayed with them through the slow, lumbering building of the story--which, in the end, was rewarding.
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