Elsie Porter met Ben Ross on an ordinary Saturday night, doing the very ordinary thing of picking up a pizza at the nearby pizza joint. Had Elsie known that she would finally be meeting the love of her life and future husband that night, she would’ve taken a shower and changed out of her ugly, wrinkly sweats.
But ugly clothes or not, Elsie and Ben hit it off. With their pizzas in hand and a quick exchange of phone numbers, they said goodbye, with a promise to call each other soon. And they both left with the good feeling that this could be the start of something wonderful.
Ben invited Elsie out for lunch the following day, and soon after, they basically couldn’t stay away from each other anymore. They’re barely finished having one dinner date and already they’re planning the next, and the next one after that. They would drive down to the city just to get Ben’s favorite tacos or Elsie’s favorite gelato, and sleep over and stay in all day at Elsie’s apartment like an old married couple. Everything felt right, good and easy, and the more time they spent with each other, the more convinced they became that they didn’t want a future without the other one in it.
So when Ben popped the question after just a few months of dating, Elsie blissfully accepted, and without hesitation. They couldn’t get married soon enough. Both didn’t want to wait for months and have a huge wedding with all their family members and close friends in attendance. They wanted to get married right away, as soon as possible. As crazy and impulsive as a Las Vegas wedding sounded, it was also very spontaneous, exciting and romantic, much like their relationship. It was perfect.
But just a few days after being Mr. and Mrs. Ross, tragedy struck. Elsie’s happy ever after was no more when Ben died in a freak accident.
Elsie narrates the devastation and the grief of losing the great love of her life, and how her once happy life is now reduced to just a nine-day marriage with a future so despairingly alone. She comes to terms with her loss one excruciating day at a time, and in the process, builds a life-long relationship with Susan, her mother-in-law. Together they help each other get through the most difficult days, and together they celebrate the life of the wonderful man that they both loved.
You probably shouldn’t pick up this book if you’re PMS-ing, or just plain emotional, because it would surely bring on the waterworks. It’s the first book I’ve read of Taylor Jenkins Reid, and I’m so glad that it did not disappoint. I really liked how her writing is so simple, so real, so comfortable, and so familiar, much like talking to your best friend. The book, although very sad, is still very light and readable, and the story bounces back and forth to the past and the present but does not confuse. It succeeded in providing the readers an intimate look at how Ben loved Elsie and how Elsie loved Ben. After reading it, I swear it felt like a lost a dear friend, too. It’s a powerful tale of love, of grief, of moving on. Keep the Kleenex handy!