Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
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.
“My heart didn’t skip a beat. I had no idea he was “it”; it was “he.” He was the man I’d dreamed about as a child, wondering what my husband would look like. I was seeing this face I had wondered about my whole life and it was right here in front of me and I didn’t recognize it. All I thought was, He’ll probably get his pizza before I get mine.”
Elsie Porter and Ben Ross meet one night when they are both waiting to pick up a pizza. They both fall hard and fast. Within five months they’ve moved in together and eloped. However, their love story is brought to an abrupt end when Ben dies in a bicycle accident. At the hospital, Elsie meets the mother in law (Susan) who she’s never met, and who doesn’t even know she exists. The story of Elsie and Susan’s grieving process is interwoven with Elsie and Ben’s love story.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is without a doubt one of my favorite authors. I only discovered her work late last year when I came across her novel “Maybe in Another Life.” I was hooked after that. “Forever, Interrupted” was the last of her novels for me to read, but ironically it was her first novel she published. Boy did it not disappoint. All of her novels have been phenomenal. As a first novel, the level of writing is just as exceptional as her most recent work.
This book is a heart breaker. I can’t exactly say I felt uplifted or even happy when the story ended. But I was satisfied. I was crying within the first couple of pages, and continued to do so throughout various parts of the book. I’m glad Elsie’s grieving process was interwoven with the love story. While it was bittersweet, it broke up the melancholy feeling of grief. Ben is charming, sweet, and so funny. There were times I laughed out loud, and I was grateful for that reprieve from the tears.
“Let’s do a little experiment,” Ben said. “What’s Anna Karenina about?”
“It’s about a married aristocratic woman who falls in love with a count but she can’t —“
“I am falling asleep just listening to you. Do you know what this book is about?” he asked me, grabbing the falcon-cover book from my hand. “This book is about a group of kids who are part human, part bird.” He said it plainly, as if the facts spoke for themselves. “This is a better book.”
I was angry at Ben for not telling his mother about Elsie. They discuss his reasons for not doing so, but I don’t know if they were good enough reasons in my opinion. Especially when things got more serious with Elsie. As someone who can relate with Ben and his hesitation to share his good news with his mother, I think he made a mistake. Elsie let her fear get in the way of what I think she knew was right.
Of course I was devastated that Ben died, and there wasn’t some magical resurrection, or that it wasn’t just a bad dream. I like happily ever afters. But this book was unique. I love how Jenkins Reid is able to weave two stories so seamlessly together. Whether they are concurrent timelines in different universes, or weaving the past and present, she’s a master of it. All her books are on my to-read again list. And this one is right there alongside the others.
“No matter how strong you are, no matter how smart you are or tough you can be, the world will find a way to break you. And when it does, the only thing you can do is hold on.”