Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Which Brings Me to You, by Steve Almond & Julianna Baggott

(hb; 2006)

From the inside flap:

“Two rambunctious, romantic flameouts. One boring wedding. One heated romp in a deserted coatroom.

“John and Jane's lusty encounter isn't really the beginning of anything with any weight to it; even they know that. When they manage to pull back, it occurs to them that they might try start this whole thing over, properly. They might try getting to know each other first, through letters, telling each other everything, aiming for honesty over seduction. And they might end up actually liking each other. More to the point, they might end up actually knowing each other.

“What follows is a series of traded confessions – of their messy histories, their mistakes, their big loves, their flaws, and their passions. The people they've hurt; the ones still bruised. The ones who bruised them. Each letter, each love affair, reveals the ways in which they've grown and changed (or not changed) over the years.

“Where all of this soul-baring will take them is the burning question behind every letter – one that can only be answered when John and Jane meet again, finally, in the flesh.”


Which Brings Me to You, a witty and occasionally salacious novel, has a moving depth to it, its jack rabbit-quick pseudo-philosophical insights linked to the sorrows, joys and personalities of John and Jane, and those they love(d). The writing rarely lags – except near the end, when Jane is talking about her two-week fiance, Mark. The section with Mark has merit; it merely runs too long.

My only other notable issue is the repeated joke-comments about John's d**k. Once or twice, it was okay, bearably cute. After that, it was annoying; fortunately, the authors ditch the d**k jokes about midway through.

Decent beach read, with some cool commentaries on the human condition, if one can forgive the predictable (but probably crowd-pleasing) ending, which could've been way worse.

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