By: Elyssa Friedland
Published Year: 2018
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn't share it with anyone, not even the person who shares your bed? Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know--and how much should we want to know--about the people we love the most?
After six years of marriage, the unshakeable confidence Cass felt on her wedding day is decidedly gone. Jonathan, on the other hand, is still smitten with Cass. It's true that the personality quirks he once found charming in his wife--her complexity, her high standards, her refusal to clean the dishes--are beginning to grate. But for him, these are minor challenges in an otherwise healthy relationship. So it comes as a complete shock to Jonathan when Cass suddenly requests a marital 'intermission': a six-month separation during which they'll figure out if the comfortable life they've built together is, in fact, the one they both want.
After Cass and Jonathan devise an absurd and jet lag-inducing plan to swap custody of their beloved dog every thirty days, they decide that (aside from their monthly canine exchange) the intermission will be a time for self-reflection--and not a time for talking. But, as the months pass, Cass and Jonathan begin to see that the very worst of their problems are rooted in just these kinds of calculated silences--and in a delicate web of blistering secrets they may never be ready to share
The cover and summary both made a strong first impression. I’m often drawn to blue covers, and the blue sheets look like the ocean, which gives it a summery feel. I was drawn in and it made a strong impression of being a good beach read.
What I thought
Why do all of the relationships I’ve been reading about lately involve two horrible people who deserve each other?
Cass and Jonathan have been together for 6 years and married for 5. They are just about to start trying for a baby, when Cass decides that she wants to take a break from their marriage. She is hiding a part of herself and feels as though her relationship with Jonathan has not been a truthful one. As a product of divorce, she deicdes that she would like to figure out their marriage and whether or not it will succeed before bringing children into the equation. Cass ends up moving to LA during their intermission, while Jonathan stays in New York, only meeting to exchange their dog cross-country.
First and foremost, Cass is a horrible person and I don’t know what Jonathan sees in her. She has major issues from her past, she is manipulative, controlling, a liar, and self-centered. While Jonathan isn’t exactly a 10/10 himself, he at least seems to be a slightly better person than Cass. At least, initially.
Cass’s biggest issue and reason for wanting an intermission is that Jonathan thinks that they were brought together by fate, when in reality she stalked him and planted herself exactly where he was going to be so that they could meet. Every time they celebrate their anniversary and he mentions fate bringing them together, she feels terrible for the lie their relationship is built on. In addition to that, she feels bored with her life and basically wants to feel desirable to men other than Jonathan, even if she won’t come flat out and say that.
Look, I get that she’s going through a bit of a mid-life crisis. Her boss/mentor has died recently, leaving her out of a job and a role model, and she’s about to change her life forever by starting a family. I understand her wanting to take an intermission to make sure that her marriage is what she wants it to be before bringing children into it. But she’s not being honest with herself about why she wants the intermission.
Cass and Jonathan also talk throughout their entire break. Like, she texts him about little things throughout the day. I’m sorry, but if you really want to figure out whether or not your life is better without the other one, you need to cut yourself off completely. I mean, they’re meeting once a month already to exchange their dog. They don’t need the daily texts.
The saving grace of this novel is the writing. It was an easy read and I did find myself wanting to read and find out what was going to happen to Cass and Jonathan. Even though I didn’t like either of them, I was invested. It’s not necessarily a page turner, but it is a good book that you can read continually but put down at any moment, making it a good beach read just like I thought it would be.