There are certain books that remind you of certain times, people and situations in your life. I’m not saying that everything about this book rings a decidedly familiar bell with me, but taken in parts, I think there are very few women who cannot relate in some way to Ellen Dempsey Graham’s story.
That story starts in Manhattan in a busy intersection, one hundred days after her wedding when Ellen, a professional photographer, looks up over the throng of New Yorkers surrounding her and into the eyes of her first love, Leo. They met nine years before while serving as jurors and haven’t seen each other in, as Ellen puts it, eight years and sixteen days. For Ellen, Leo was the love of her life, until he instigates a devastating break up. Her room mate and best friend, Margot Graham, intervenes and helps Ellen overcome her depression following the split. And Andy, Margot’s older brother, offers her a new chance at love and later, marriage.
When Ellen sees Leo again, and he offers her the chance to photograph a recording artist he is interviewing for a magazine, she can’t pass up the opportunity. Couching her acceptance in terms of her career, she privately questions her own motives in working with Leo, but knows enough about them to keep the details from her husband. While feeling what she shouldn’t feel for her first love and on the cusp and in the aftermath of a life altering change, Ellen must decide if the one she left behind is the one she should be with.
This contemporary story of the road not taken is a soul-searching reflection of choices made and situations that, with one look, one word or one action could have made a life completely different. Would Ellen have been happier with that road not taken? Is it too late to take it? And most importantly, should she?
I love Emily Giffin. A wonderful, contemporary author, her other books include Something Borrowed, Something Blue and Baby Proof. An excellent summer read that moves quickly and succinctly, Love the One You’re With may have you revisiting your own life’s path. At the very least, it may leave you thinking about your own road not taken.