Thursday, April 16, 2020

You Deserve Each Other - Review

You Deserve Each Other

By: Sarah Hogle

Publication: April 7th 2020 by G.P. Putnam's Sons

368 pages

Genre: Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--For fans of The Hating Game, a debut lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about two unhappily engaged people each trying to force the other to end the relationship--and falling back in love in the process.

Naomi Westfield has an Instagram-perfect life, including the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family every bride dreams of being a part of. They never fight, complain, or disagree. They're preparing for their lavish wedding that's three months away. And they are miserably and utterly sick of each other.

Tired of contorting herself to fit the ridiculous standards demanded by Nicholas's family, Naomi wants out of the relationship. But there's a catch: Whoever calls off the engagement will have to foot the enormous bill for the wedding. When Naomi finds out that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of wills to see who can annoy the other into surrendering through pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But now that they have nothing to lose, they're finally being themselves. They're having so much fun getting on each other's nerves that it starts to feel like something else entirely. As Naomi discovers hidden feelings for Nicholas buried under three years of simmering resentment, she wonders if he feels the same way. Suddenly, the countdown to the wedding that may or may not come to pass feels more like a race to mutual destruction--and Naomi doesn't want to be left alone at the finish line.

I couldn't remember the book description when it came time for me to read this one. I have battled reading slumps all year so far. Hangovers from exceptionally good books as well as slumps from exceptionally mediocre books as well. I wasn't sure where You Deserve Each Other was going to fall. And truth be told, I went through a range of thoughts while reading this one.

My first thought was how incredibly sad it was that Naomi resigned herself to a life with so little to look forward to in it. And that was quickly followed up with thinking it completely unrealistic for someone to stay in a relationship with someone else simply as a matter of pride. I mean who has that much pride. But then I began to realize that people I know have stayed in real relationships for a whole lot less.

Once Naomi and Nicholas offer each other the smallest amount of honesty--that they are each miserable--the fun begins. These two embark on a quest to make the other break first. They begin to prank each other which alternated between being sad for them and thinking they were both hilarious. What really happened was that the two of them came alive in their attempts to break the other down. A fire was lit and fanned into flame.

I sensed hope from Nicholas early enough to feel confident in how he felt about Naomi. Naomi slowly began to realize her own selfishness. She began to see how much she was holding back from Nicholas which ultimately didn't give him a chance. These two had some simmering moments even though the description was much tamer than I wondered it might be.

Ultimately this is a story about fighting for love, putting in the necessary work and effort to put each other first, to maintain your relationship. It's a story about second chances and falling in love so much deeper than the first time. It's funny and sad. Heartbreaking and hopeful. You Deserve Each Other was so real that I think almost everyone will be able to relate to the challenges of falling into a rut and letting little things build up until they threaten to drown you.

Too many of my favorite quotes:

- This is how I’ll die: slightly unwilling but ultimately lazy.

-“There’s a difference between being needed and wanted. In some things, I like to be needed. With sex, I need to be wanted. I can’t be just some guy in your bed getting the job done. I’m not having disconnected, going‑through‑the‑motions sex with you. Not you. You’re supposed to be the person I connect with the most deeply.”

-“You stopped seeing me, Naomi. You stopped wanting me. You’re going to figure out one of these days that I can tell when you’re starting to disassociate, and it’s the most heartbreaking experience I’ve ever had. It’s nonstop. It keeps on happening. I try to bring you back to me every time you go to leave, off into your own head where I’m not allowed.”

-Real Nicholas hasn’t said any of this. But Imaginary Nicholas is an amalgamation of realistic predictions based on callous things he’s said to me in the past, so I easily hear his voice shape those words. It’s not fair to be hurt or angry over something he didn’t even say, especially since the words I put into my own head are all true, but knowing he potentially could say it— and probably will— is enough to make me sink into a dark silence that I don’t rise from for the rest of the ride home.

-"I want to please everybody, but I can’t, and in somebody’s eyes I’m always falling short. Don’t put me in this position where I have to choose.” I never make him choose, but he always does, anyway, which puts me in a position where I’m forced to be crabby.

-It feels like he’s always leaving right when I want him to stay.

-It should be a given, but it’s not, and that’s my fault. I’ve been withholding nice gestures to punish him for not giving me enough nice gestures...

-Keep doing this even if he doesn’t reciprocate in an immediately obvious way.

-I have to give while expecting nothing in return; otherwise, the gestures are empty.

-But when your significant other says, You don’t need to work. You don’t need a job, you might hear, I don’t think you’ll find meaningful employment without a college education. I don’t believe in you. In my head, I’ve been assuming that when Nicholas says I don’t need to work, what he means is that any job I’d qualify for is so beneath his notice that I might as well not work at all. In Nicholas’s head, all he’s done is say Here I am, here I am. Be anything! It doesn’t matter if you don’t make much money, because I’ll take care of you. I’ll let you need me. I’ll be your rock, whatever happens. Spread your wings, you can always fall back on me.

-It feels so lovely to be good to each other.

-We’re going to have to choose each other, over and over, and be each other’s champion, never letting ourselves forget the good whenever we’re stuck in a patch of bad. It’s going to be work.

You Deserve Each Other was a timely book for me as Husband and I have been putting in a lot of work to reconnect over the last few weeks. At first, I thought this would be just a fun book, but You Deserve Each Other ended up being deeper and more complex than I expected. I don't think I'll soon forget this story or these characters. And I think almost anyone who has been in a long-term relationship can find ways to relate to both the characters and the situation they've found themselves in. You Deserve Each Other gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read You Deserve Each Other? What did you think? Let me know!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really good! I've been hearing a lot about it lately!