Friday, January 11, 2008

The Opposite of Love-Julie Buxbaum

The Opposite of Love
Julie Buxbaum
Dial, Jan 2008, $25.00
ISBN: 9780385341226

The night before twenty-nine years old Yale law graduate Emily Haxby dreams of slicing and dicing her boyfriend into Mu Shu Andrew; the next day just before he appears ready to propose she ends their relationship. Her friends are stunned as they thought Emily and Andrew were the perfect couple. More confusing to them is that Emily cannot explain why except that it is her not him. Her best friend tells Emily that she is a masochist.

Emily also worries about her beloved Grandpa Jack, who seems to be fading rapidly; he is everything to her unlike her icy relationship with her father, lieutenant governor Kirk Haxby who wants her to follow in his footsteps by becoming a Manhattan attorney defending big corporations from lawsuits. Instead she escapes the Big Apple, her job and her relationship pressures to spend time with her Grandpa Jack and his best friend at the retirement home. There she learns what life is all about as THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE is not hate; it is a soulless emptiness, but Emily struggles to understand how to refill the void once it has become a vacuum.

This is a fascinating look at a woman who seems to have everything yet feels her life is vacuous as she believes she has nothing worthwhile except for Grandpa Jack; once he dies Emily assumes that except for her memories, she turns empty. Emily is a terrific protagonist struggling with the meaning of life. Although the climax seems too perfect, readers will appreciate Julie Buxbaum’s deep look at THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE.

Harriet Klausner

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