Paperback: 464 pages (ebook available now)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (7 May 2015)
Falling in love is the easy part. What matters most is what happens next…Fisher and Ivy have been an item for a whole nineteen days. And they just know they are meant to be together. The fact that they know little else about each other is a minor detail. Over the course of twelve months, in which their lives will change forever, Fisher and Ivy discover that falling in love is one thing, but staying there is an entirely different story. The Two of Us is a charming, honest and heart-breaking novel about life, love, and the importance of taking neither one for granted.
WOW! I will admit, I am not the greatest fan of male writers – mainly due to having to study them in year one of my degree and pulling apart their style and how they write too much detail etc. I found The Great Gatsby an awful read – too descriptive, so much so that I struggled to visualise anything myself – and I try to avoid male writers. (I know, that’s really awful and judgemental of me…i’m a bad person). However, I am attending a spring book launch soon with Books and the City and Andy Jones is one of the authors who will be there so I thought it only right that I engaged with some of his work. Wow! Slapped wrist for me for being to generalising about male writers! Sorry, sorry sorry!
If you are looking for a fluffy, pastel coloured, “undemanding” (I saw that word being used negativity on an Amazon review and i like it!) read then this is not it! At all!
So, the story is about a couple – Ivy and Fisher – who have just started a relationship and it starts with them, 19 days in, going to meet his family. That’s pretty much all I can tell you without giving away any of the plot! haha! The book visits love, family, friendships – both pure friendships and those you “have to have” with work colleagues. It visits bereavement, grief, disability and pregnancy. All told from a male point of view and written by a man. Normally, we get a mans voice from a female hand. Not this time.
I loved the story, and I did dislike Ivy through most of the book but I could also see a bit of myself in Ivy. I think all women can – when we are hormonal, we are moody and we tend to shut men out. And I have definitely said “it’s okay” on many occasional when really, it isn’t! I also found that Fisher frustrated me so much at certain points! I was shouting (in my head) “just tell her” “don’t do that” “no, you moron, say something”.
Andy Jones does leave a few gaps in the story – we are told that Ivy and Fisher’s niece Hermoine speak regularly on the phone but that is dropped in rather than woven in – but that’s ok. I liked that he did that, it’s the opposite to a lot of male writing where they leave nothing at all for you to fill in or guess. I also liked the fact that it isn’t a book told in a “on Monday….on Tuesday….the next day….” kind of way. Like I said, it isn’t an “undemanding” book where the author holds your hand through the whole plot.
The book did make me cry, and I knew it would, but not until about three quarters of the way in. The bit after the balloon – trying really hard not to give anything away! (The ballon bit by the way I thought was really well done, and was lovely, it showed that men have sentimental feelings too). From this point, I loved how the story moved and it definitely benefitted from being written by a man and not by a women. It was a totally new way to look at grief – and I guess how people treat the bereaved differently by their gender as well as how different genders deal with it.
The ending I thought was perfect and I am really glad that Andy Jones didn’t give any more page space to that particular storyline. It was what it was and it wasn’t trying to make a political point and by not dragging it out, by almost blurting it out, if fitted with that character perfectly.
This book would be enjoyed by both men and women and it would be interesting to get a male take on how Fisher and Ivy’s relationship is told.
I really can not wait to read more of Andy’s work and I am looking forward to meeting him in March. And, lesson learnt, not to judge a book by it’s cover – or the gender of it’s author!!