Do you ever wonder about that high school boyfriend? Where he might be? What if you'd stayed together? Is the man you're with now The One?
Deanna McFadden explores that question - and a whole lot more - in her debut novel, The Work Boyfriend.
Kelly has an interesting job - okay it's not quite what she wanted to do, but it'll do for now. She did leave Chris, the high school love behind and has lived with Rob for the last ten years. She's happy with him. Except...well, he wants to get married. And Kelly is adamant that she doesn't want to. And lately it's Garrett - her friend at work that she thinks she might want to be with.....
"There is a moment when you are travelling, in the instant before you realize you are hopelessly and truly lost, when you lose all sense of the right direction. That feeling was pervading my relationship and my life these days."
All the elements are here for a fun chick lit read, but McFadden takes her novel a step beyond that. The Work Boyfriend is an exploration of what it means to grow up, to be an adult, to make choices that are right for yourself - and others. There are numerous supporting characters - friends, co-workers and family, each with their own opinion and take on being an adult.
Now, it might be my age - I'm pretty sure I've settled into adult life safely - but I found myself getting frustrated with Kelly. But I understood where she was coming from, even though I found her hard to like. Who I did identify with was Kelly's mom. She's had some hard knocks along the way, but persevered, figured it out and is happy. And yes, sometimes mom does know what she's talking about.
McFadden has set the book in Toronto - it was fun to recognize places and spaces I've visited. And some of the Canadian references had me chuckling. Anyone else remember doing The Canadian Fitness Challenge?
The Work Boyfriend is by turns funny and poignant, but always with a ring of truth. Every reader will be able to identify with one of the characters or situations as Kelly tries to figure out what direction her life needs to go now. McFadden has an easy way with words and a keen eye for the human condition. The Work Boyfriend was a enjoyable, easy read with just the right ending. Read an excerpt of The Work Boyfriend.