Publication Date: August 11th 2015
Received from Simon & Schuster Canada
Rating: 5 stars
Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she’s intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy’s taken back to the emergency room and Rachel’s sent back to her bed, they think they’ll never see each other again.
Rachel, the beloved, popular, and protected daughter of two doting parents, grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation.
Over the course of three decades, through high school and college, marriages and divorces, from the pinnacles of victory and the heartbreak of defeat, Andy and Rachel will find each other again and again, until they are finally given a chance to decide whether love can surmount difference and distance and if they’ve been running toward each other all along.
With honesty, wit, and clear-eyed observations about men and women, love and fate, and the truth about happy endings, Jennifer Weiner delivers two of her most memorable characters, and a love story you’ll never forget.
When Atria books began marketing Who Do You Love, one of their key techniques was likening Rachel and Andy to different love stories in literature and pop culture throughout the years. At first I was skeptical because comparing them to Romeo and Juliet was a long shot. But then they compared them to Harry and Sally from When Harry Met Sally and I was completely and utterly sold, as it’s one of my favourite romantic comedies of all time. I picked this book up expecting a fairly standard women’s fiction story but I was completely blown away with what I ended up reading.
Weiner wrote these characters with flaws-a-plenty and it was something that I appreciated immensely. Rachel and Andy were realistic and often times characters that I really didn’t admire, but I was still completely sucked into how their lives continued to interweave and twine among each other. They didn’t rely on each other but if I had to say there was a literary couple who were soul mates out there, Rachel and Andy would be solidly in that category. They had a complicated and tumultuous relationship that they had to struggle to maintain and at times it didn’t work, but there was always that underlying hope that things would work out for them.
What I really admired about them was that Rachel and Andy are opposites. From my own experience, this works, as my boyfriend and I balance each other out really well. For others, it doesn’t work out quite so well. I really loved watching the two of them grow up as well. From little eight year olds to adults in their thirty’s who didn’t have everything fully figured out yet, Weiner had the chance to fully flesh out these characters and I absolutely loved it.
This was my first book by Jennifer Weiner and I don’t know if i’ll continue on reading more of hers as they don’t appeal to me as much, but if you are looking for a “women’s fiction” story with realistic characters that you can root for, I strongly suggest reading Who Do You Love. I was completely entranced and find myself thinking about it a couple of weeks after reading it.