Love, Rosie was chick lit to a T. But I loved it. Why? Why do we love stories like this one? It is so incredibly cheesy and unrealistic and ridiculous. There’s your answer. I guess one could make the argument that Love, Rosie isn’t exactly your run-of-the-mill chick lit. Its format is actually fairly unique. It’s an epistolary novel consisting of letters, emails, newspaper clippings, and instant message conversations spanning about 50 years in the life of Rosie and Alex. It left me thinking: If my life were “read” through my letters, emails and IMs, what in the world would anyone get out of it? I don’t think I want to know. Then again, there isn’t some wonderful love story theme weaved through my conversations either. Maybe one day…
This book is centered in Dublin. Can’t seem to get away from the British Isles lately. I hope one day I can go to Ireland/Scotland and see all these places I’ve been reading about recently! But, I digress…
Love, Rosie begins with some adorable little notes passed between Rosie and Alex. Most consisted of little kid conversations about sleepovers, games, big nose smelly breath teachers, and birthday parties. (Rosie was not invited to Alex’s tenth birthday party because she was a girl. He was sorry because it was awful without her.) As they grew up, the notes became increasingly about relationships, future careers and the occasional party.
Then one day their friendship is tested. At 17, Alex learns he has to move to Boston because his dad got a job offer he just cannot refuse. Alex and Rosie are devastated but vow to do their best to stay in touch. Neither want to lose their best friend.
The story continues like this for years. Something great will happen to Alex, then something not-so-great to Rosie. Their lives seem to driving them apart, but they do their best to stay close. They serve as the “man of honor” and “best woman” at each other’s weddings and watch each other become parents. Neither particularly approves of the others’ spouse, of course, but they remain friends through thick and thin. (Although there are of course some times when they lose touch because of anger or circumstance.)
After a divorce from his college sweetheart, and a particularly tough spot in Rosie’s marriage, Alex composes THE letter. I knew from the placement in the book that there was no way this letter would change things. (There was still half of the book left, and it couldn’t all be about their life together…that HAD to come closer to the end of the book, right?) Right.
The letter is “lost”. (Yes, it does turn up later in the book!) Things continue on what seems a downward spiral for Rosie. She loses her job in a posh hotel, gets a divorce from her cheating slimeball of a husband, and finds a job working in the school her daughter attends. (Her boss is none other than the big nose smelly breath teacher she used to loathe.) In Boston, Alex reunites with his high school sweetheart, gets her pregnant, and marries her. (It seems fitting since her dad is a big cardio-surgical genius and that’s just the in Alex needs for his medical career.)
Eventually things get better. I don’t want to go into too much detail just incase someone reading this hasn’t read the book. But let’s just say, slowly, very slowly, a situation arises where both Alex and Rosie realize what was obvious to everyone around them for so long.
Cheesy, yes. Ridiculous, oh most definitely. But not necessarily a fairy tale. Again, like One Day, this “when Harry met Sally” nonsense is just tragic enough to stomach. Yes, they did end up together, but isn’t it sad that they couldn’t have realized they loved each other twenty years ago? I guess it’s all about timing.