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Emily and Einstein: A Novel of Second…
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Emily and Einstein: A Novel of Second Chances

by Linda Francis Lee

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from prettynpink as unregistered; Good story although the ending was predictable and trite. Sandy is a scumbag hubby. He is hit by a car, and makes a deal to come back reincarnated as a dog…the stray Einstein. Emily doesn't know why, but after Sandy dies, she finds herself adopting Einstein from the pound. With Einstein (Sandy) pointing out the secret bank account, eviction letters, etc., she's able to start to rebuild her life without Sandy, create a new home and new friends. ( )
  nancynova | Apr 10, 2014 |
When I started “Emily and Einstein” I was a little apprehensive about reading a dog story. However, after I read the first chapter, I was hooked. This is a story about a marriage more than a story about a dog. It’s the story of a very self-absorbed rich man, Sandy, and a trusting, lovely girl, Emily, who has given her heart to him. They have only been married for four years. On the way to meet Emily for dinner, Sandy is killed in an accident. I thought that this would be the basis of the story, but I was wrong. Sandy actually was meeting Emily for dinner to tell her he was going to divorce her. Sandy is reincarnated as a little dog that Emily adopts from the shelter where she volunteers. His job as a dog is to help Emily recover and go on with life. Sandy is so clueless that it takes a while before he finds out what he is to do. He thinks that he will do his “doggy” job and turn back into a live person the way he was before. This book was interesting because if flipped back and forth…one chapter would be Einstein the dog talking and the next chapter would be Emily’s. I really liked this book; it’s a keeper!

http://imhookedonbooks.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/emily-and-eins…da-francis-lee/ ( )
  SilverShrew | Feb 20, 2014 |
Review coming soon ( )
  coffeenut1992 | May 16, 2013 |
funny, sad, happy, angry, clever; well done ( )
  rosies | Sep 3, 2012 |
Emily and Einstein is a light romance about a selfish husband given a second chance to deserve his wife's love. Sandy Portman lives for his job - and the power it brings him - often pushing his wife, Emily, to the back burner. Then one day in a snowstorm, Sandy is hit by a car. Not ready to die, he blindly agrees to the terms an "old man" offers him for a second chance. Next thing he knows, Sandy is a dog named Einstein in the shelter at which Emily volunteers. Then, Emily adopts him, and that's when the real complications begin.

Meanwhile, Emily has lost her husband, is on the verge of losing the apartment she loves, and then finds a stash of Sandy's journals - mostly filled with his exploits with other women. Her life is unraveling quickly, and it's starting to effect her career at a publishing house. She needs help, but has nowhere to turn, except her new canine companion, Einstein.

Emily and Einstein is overall an average novel - some parts I enjoyed and others I didn't. The parts I liked the most were the ones involving Emily's job as an editor for a book publisher. I enjoyed the insight into that industry - the stress, the pressure, and the joy of giving a new author a successful start.

I didn't like that Lee tried to layer the story too much with subplots and complications that made the novel too convoluted. For example, Emily's late mother played substantially into a subplot involving mother/daughter relationships, feminism, and childhood pathos. Likewise, at Einstein's insistence, Emily takes up running and decides to enter a marathon - Sandy's goal in his early life before a leg injury made it impossible. Add to that Emily's new, younger love interest, a young, flighty sister, and a cranky mother-in-law, and it's simply too much to squeeze into a short novel, especially because Lee tries to explore the respective angsts of each of these peripheral characters.

Formatting wise, I took issue with a couple of things, too. For the record, the copy I read was "advance uncorrected proofs", so I don't know how the final formatting played out. In the ARC, the narration switched between Einstein/Sandy and Emily, which is fine, but the formatting was a bit too thorough in trying to make those transitions clear. Before each section, a full page divider listed the name of whomever the subsequent narrator would be and the font changed depending on which character was narrating. Add to this that the two characters had vastly different narrative voices, and the overall effect was overkill. We don't need both different fonts and labels. One or the other is helpful at the beginning of the novel, but as the novel progresses, we really don't need either.

My final thoughts: a lot of people will find something they like in this novel, but few people will like everything. If you're looking for something light and a bit different, you might give Emily and Einstein a chance. Otherwise, you won't miss much if you pass. ( )
  ReadHanded | Jul 12, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
For her 20th novel, Lee collars the dog-fiction trend in a tale about a timid New York editor, Emily, whose husband is killed by a car, then comes back as her rescue pet, a mutt named Einstein. ...But Lee delivers a breezy diversion, peppered with tidbits from life among privileged New Yorkers.
 
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312382189, Hardcover)

Product Description

He was a man who didn’t deserve a second chance. But he needed one…

Emily and her husband Sandy Portman seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building.  But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident.  The funeral isn't even over before Emily learns she is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment.  But worse than the possibility of losing her home, Emily is stunned when she discovers that her marriage was made up of lies. 

Suddenly Emily is forced on a journey to find out who her husband really was . . . all the while feeling that somehow he isn't really gone.  Angry, hurt, and sometimes betrayed by loving memories of the man she lost, Emily finds comfort in a scruffy dog named Einstein.  But is Einstein's seemingly odd determination that she save herself enough to make Emily confront her own past?  Can he help her find a future—even after she meets a new man? 



Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Linda Francis Lee

Q: What made you write a book about an unfaithful husband?

A: My primary goal wasn't to write about an unfaithful husband, it was to write about a man who lived a lie--and he didn't just live a lie to the world, he lied to himself. I wanted to tell a story about someone who found it easier to blame others for what was wrong in his life rather than take responsibility and attempt to help make it right. No life is perfect, but frequently it's easier to blame others or external circumstances than take responsibility.

Q: Why did you decide to write a book with a dog as the main character? Are you yourself a "dog person"?

A: At the time I was plotting the book, I had been thinking a lot about our dog Sophie who had passed away several years ago. For so long just thinking about her broke my heart. But a shift had started to happen and the memories started making me smile or even laugh. Sophie had so much personality. If she was mad at me, she ignored me. If I was sad about something, she leaned up against me until I felt better. I know it sounds crazy, but she felt like a little person, a sometimes crotchety person! So with all this thinking about Sophie, one day when I came through a tunnel in Central Park and saw the statue of Balto the dog, the pieces came together. A dog has to be a character in this book, and not just any dog, a wonderful but crotchety dog...and Einstein came fully to life!

Q: At certain points throughout the story, Einstein's animal instincts kick in, both confusing and inconveniencing Sandy. Was there a reason to keep this animal influence involved in Sandy's transformation?

A: I had become obsessed with Cesar Millan's THE DOG WHISPERER and to paraphrase Cesar, The problem is with the humans, not with the dogs. In watching the show I was always amazed at how owners learn to be better humans by learning how to deal with their dogs. As a result, between my memories of Sophie, and seeing Balto, then add in Cesar, I realized it had to be through Einstein the dog's instincts that Sandy Portman learns how to be a true man.

Q: Throughout the book the theme of "second chances" comes up again and again. What do second chances mean to you? Why did you want to explore this idea?

A: I think most of us have moments in our lives that we would like to do over. While we can't get an actual "do over", I love the idea that we can get another chance to make things right, or find another chance to achieve a dream. Second chances are all about having hope, and it's hope that gets us out of bed in the morning.

Q: As Emily turns her life around, she goes through several changes, from finding new love and beginning to exercise, to taking risks at work and attempting to discover more about her family and her own upbringing. Is there one aspect of her reawakening that you find to be the most important or groundbreaking?

A: I think everyone has a vision of who they want to be, or who they think they are. Generally the image we hold of ourselves is an appealing version. The fact is, who can afford to live with an unappealing vision of themselves. What I liked most about Emily was that she was willing to look at who she was, and when the truth started to unravel her, she held on, fought against falling apart, then moved forward in an attempt to be someone better. And through that (in addition to through Einstein) her husband sees an example of someone trying to be their best. It both helps him and makes him angry.

Q: Once Emily stops running from the things in life that scare her, what did this represent to the storyline as a whole?

A: I think any time we do something that is difficult--something that we think we can't do--it strengthens us. It gives us a foundation on which to reflect back when the next challenge hits. A sort of: Err, this new challenge is impossible! But I did accomplish the other thing, so maybe I can do this too. Growing up I was never particularly serious about anything. But when I turned twenty, I realized life was passing me by. I started doing anything I didn't think I could do. I focused on school. I took probability and statistic courses, geology courses. I mountain climbed, I repelled, I set out to run a marathon. I even started to write. All these years later, I still push myself to do things that are out of my comfort zone. And every morning I get up and I go into the park to run because making it to the top of Heartbreak Hill, or finishing a run when I am surrounded by snow, reminds me that I can get to the top of a hill and nothing but fear holds me back. Emily learns who she really is by pushing herself beyond what she believes are her own limits.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Sandy Portman and Emily Barlow seem to lead a perfect life. Sandy is a successful businessman from an old-money family, and Emily, beautiful and smart, is quickly gaining respect in her career as a book editor. But Sandy is keeping a few secrets from Emily, and is hit by a car and killed before he has a chance to reveal the truth. In a Dickensian turn of events, he's given an otherworldly chance to make amends as a dog named Einstein.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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