“Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.”
Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.
Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met—and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.
Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. Her first novel, Forever, Interrupted, was named one of the “11 Debuts We Love” by Kirkus Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit.
The First Lines:
“Have you decided if you’re going to change your name?” Ben asks me. He is sitting on the opposite end of the couch, rubbing my feet. He looks so cute. How did I end up with someone so goddam cute?
The Good Stuff:
I picked this up from my library shelving cart about a week ago. Something had niggled at me, maybe I’d heard I should read this from someone…? The back cover blurb seemed a little depressing, but I figured I’d give it a whirl when the mood struck me. I’d just read a stack of novels about the more serious side of marriage—infidelity, secrets, etc.—and a few more in the same tone are lined up in my queue. This had a cute cover in my favorite color. It seemed lighter…
I cracked it open Thursday night as the family spread out on the couch for reading time. Next thing I knew, I was on page 79 and it was a half-hour past my kiddo’s bedtime. I was that sucked in. You know it’s good stuff.
Something about this story just hooked me at the start. Maybe it’s that Elsie is a book-loving, NPR-listening, only child librarian. Maybe it’s because she met her husband at New Year’s (like me), instantly felt that indescribable connection with her future hubby (like me), and he’d proposed by May (like me). Maybe it’s just because the cover was the exact same shade of aqua as the p.j. shorts I was wearing.
Elsie is instantly likable—once again, maybe because she seemed so familiar. Ben, the love-of-her-life was charming and adorable and passionate about YA novels written for 13-year-old girls. Come on. They are both cute and slightly geeky and totally relatable. I believed that they could meet and know that the other was “The One” that fast. I felt as if my dear hubby and I could be them 15-years, a kid, and a mortgage payment later. But we know from the start Elsie and Ben don’t get that. He’s killed in the first chapter when he gallantly rides his bike to the drug store to fetch some Fruity Pebbles for her. We know they don’t get their happy ending together.
But the story is wonderful just the same.
It alternates between the six months Ben and Elsie had together and the six months after his death. It sounds miserable, but it’s not, I promise. Ben never told his mom he’d eloped. He’d never mentioned he was even dating Elsie, so needless to say, Mom’s not thrilled when she not only loses her only child but discovers he’d gotten married on the sly. Elsie has a rather detached relationship with her cool physician parents, so she’s terrified by this new woman who’s just brimming with emotion. Over the six months, they get to know not only each other, but their beloved Ben and themselves.
FOREVER, INTERRUPTED is a delightful debut novel that reminds me a little of Rainbow Rowell (one of my writer crushes). It has a similar easygoing familiarity, but the voice is more mature (as Elsie is a few years older than Rowell’s main characters in Eleanor & Park and Fangirl). It’s surprisingly brighter than you’d imagine for a book about a young widow, but don’t expect to make it all the way through without at least a few tears. My hubby politely ignored mine at the end—or perhaps he was just too sucked into the World Cup third place match to notice.
See, now I’m late getting started on dinner prep because I just had to get this out while the experience and the salty tear streaks are still fresh. Great book. Now you’ll have to excuse me—I’m off to add Taylor Jenkins Reid’s sophomore novel After I Do to my library queue.
Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Print Length: 353 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Release date: July 9, 2013