Sunday, July 24, 2011

Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee

I struggled to come up with an honest description of Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee because I sort of liked it, but was also sort of mad at it because it didn’t pan out to be everything I wanted it to be (although I would also struggle to tell you why). So here you go. It was a sweet little book.

Emily is a too nice gal from modest origins married to Sandy, a despicable guy from old money. A cliché. Sandy steps off the curb in New York City where they live, gets hit by a bus, dies and comes back as an injured dog that is sent to a pound where he is nursed back to health and eventually adopted by a volunteer at the pound, his wife, Emily. Not a cliché, although it seems everyone is writing dog books. Who doesn’t have a special place in their heart for unconditionally loving canines? The theme of a husband dying and coming back as a dog, Einstein, was titillating, but Sandy/Einstein was such a terrible person and dog, I eventually found myself wanting him to run out into the street again.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and Sandy/Einstein’s “e-ville” mom hardly waits for the dirt to settle on her son’s grave before she begins eviction proceedings to get her daughter-in-law thrown out of her son’s apartment at the famous Dakota building. OMG, I can’t tell you how any times I’ve stood outside the Dakota and imagined myself living there, in an apartment overlooking Central Park of course.

Sandy has come back as a dog because, in some weird supernatural situation I could never seem to understand, he must make amends to Emily for being such a shit before he can go to heaven or wherever. That whole theme is never explained to my satisfaction, or perhaps I zoned out when author, Lee (photo below), explained.

Enter the whacky sister, a wad of really mean people, and the man of Emily’s dreams, all of which felt way too predictable. Of interest was Emily’s mother, a famous feminist and activist. There were also some women in the book who tied interestingly back to Emily’s mom. Those parts of the story always drew me back into the book but weren’t developed enough to keep my attention for long.

So how did the story end? Well how do you think? These types of books don't end sadly, so I’m sure you can figure it out.  Need a lite, well-written summer read - very light? Here’s your book. 

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