The Opposite of Love: Julie Buxbaum

23 Jun

Obviously, someone read my blog.

About a week ago, I received another package from the lovely Penguin Canada, containing a few books. This, as usual, elicited a SQUEE! and WOOHOO! from me as I love getting new books. To the top of the 3.5 foot tower of “to be read” they went.


I finished with whatever I had been reading, and dove into “The Opposite of Love” by Julie Buxbaum. The synopsis had caught my eye-successful lawyer up and dumps her boyfriend as he’s about to propose, and she can’t explain it. She just knows it’s her. Throw in a job with a “hands on” boss, a Grandpa who’s slowly losing it and her distant father. Top it off with the memory of a dead mother.

So, we know the dead mother clinched it for me, and I just had to get reading.

I really like this book. Now, I know, reading about single girl heartbreak isn’t normally my preferred demographic, but this book is strong. While the character isn’t entirely likeable all the time, she is understandable, especially for someone who has also lost her mother.

Emily, our main character, is very familiar to me. Maybe not the lawyer part, but the inability to connect properly to others, spurning love and happiness because we’re scared of hurting again, in that oh so particular way of letting go of our defenses-I recognize that, and connected very strongly to Emily.

Having to take care of her Grandpa as her father was absent, likely unwilling himself to suffer another loss, was just another facet of the motherloss experience. Having to take responsibility, having to become the parent. Being protective and closed in about the people we do love.

Ultimately, Emily learns from the people in her life-learns that to live, we do need to take a chance, do need to love. That the people who love her will be there, will not break her, will not leave her.

The writing is strong, in the way I like it. When the writing is such that I don’t notice it, that I become immersed in the people, the characters. When I stay up almost all night reading, when I’m excited to pick up the book again-the writing is strong, the writing is good, and it’s honest.

This isn’t a heavy book-the writing is still light (for the subject matter) and in parts very witty and fun to read. But it’s also a great conversation on how we find it in ourselves to love when the very capacity to do so has been damaged almost beyond repair.

The Opposite of Love is out now in paperback, and is being made into a movie with Anne Hathaway. Ms. Buxbaum’s next novel, After You is available this August.

9 Responses to “The Opposite of Love: Julie Buxbaum”

  1. Hannah June 23, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    Thanks for the review. I’ve joined a book club and this seems like it’ll be right up their alley.

    • Julie Buxbaum July 28, 2009 at 8:36 am #

      Hi Hannah,
      If your book club ends up picking THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE or AFTER YOU, please let me know. I love to do conference calls with groups. It’s a great way to connect with readers and find out what they are really thinking. If you are interested, drop me an email through my website
      Thanks so much,

  2. flutter June 23, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    cradge. I cannot have another book on my “must read” list! *shakes fist at you*

    • thordora June 24, 2009 at 1:42 am #

      Hey, if MY “to read” pile is taller than both children, then YOUR “to read” pile should be too. 😀

  3. Julie Buxbaum June 24, 2009 at 5:27 am #

    Thanks so much for the lovely and well thought out review. So glad you enjoyed The Opposite of Love. There is nothing more gratifying than a review that gets exactly what I was trying to do with the book–I was really interested in showing how mother loss can affect all parts of my main characters life, even years after the fact– and I so I very much appreciated your thoughts. Thanks again!
    Julie Buxbaum

    • thordora June 24, 2009 at 8:11 am #

      I really did like this book a lot-thank you for nailing that part of motherloss that’s so nebulous-how we connect and relate.

      Looking forward to After You.

  4. camerashymomma June 24, 2009 at 11:12 pm #

    oh, i just put this book on hold at the library! i can’t wait to get my hands on it, thanks for your input!

    • thordora June 26, 2009 at 1:31 am #

      I really enjoyed it-especially the motherloss parts-I haven’t related to anything the way I related to the relationship issues Emily had. It really hit the nail on the head.

  5. niobe June 30, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    “Ultimately, Emily learns from the people in her life-learns that to live, we do need to take a chance, do need to love. That the people who love her will be there, will not break her, will not leave her.”

    Hmmm…somehow I think I would have liked the book better if Emily had learned that to live, we do not need to love. That the people who she foolishly believed loved her will betray her, abandon her and spend the rest of their lives laughing at how stupid she was.

    ‘Cause, y’know, then it would have been more like real life. Well, like my real life, anyway.

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