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Soulmates: A Novel by Jessica Grose

Soulmates: A Novel (edition 2017)

by Jessica Grose (Author)

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6233191,731 (3.14)4
Title:Soulmates: A Novel
Authors:Jessica Grose (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2017), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, new age, yoga, gurus, 2017

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Soulmates: A Novel by Jessica Grose



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Hard to believe Lena Dunham actually read this "deeply compelling, funny, and sharply observed" book. The only thing that carried this shallow, uncompelling, unfunny, and superficially-written book was the plot, which kept me reading instead of throwing it across the room. And even the plot fell apart in the end [spoilers]: Ethan and Amaya died just as the newspaper reported it; and Dana inexplicably subsumes herself into the cult (guess it was the ayahuasca).

Rewrite it, I would have said if I were Dunham. And please leave out all the horribly written chapters about Ethan. Take us into the psychology of cult members and their leaders, and write a book about Dana's transformation from lawyer to a lost cause. ( )
  bobbieharv | Jul 17, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
After reading this book I'm somehow simultaneously bewildered, angry, annoyed, and frustrated.

Dana is a lawyer who works 90 hours a week to support herself and her husband Ethan, who is doing a good job of not having a job. He's a creative type, waiting for inspiration by playing video games and watching Law & Order re-runs. This causes major resentment on her part and their marriage becomes tense but Dana doesn't think of it as more than just a rough patch. Evidently, Ethan disagreed. He leaves her for his yoga partner Amaya, who "understands him". And you know, "encourages his spiritual growth". And also sleeps with him. He leaves Dana a note and never contacts her again. Two years later, she finds a picture of him and Amaya in the newspaper. They were found dead in a cave not far from the ashram in New Mexico they ran off to. This brings up a lot of unresolved feelings for Dana as she never really got any closure. The sheriff in New Mexico wants to meet up with her and she decides that if she goes to see him, she can also check into the resort/ashram and maybe find out what happened to Ethan and Amaya. She doesn't really buy into anything that is practiced at the ashram but finds a pamphlet there that Ethan wrote about this experience finding himself and leaving Dana for Amaya. This gives her insight into his side of the story and leads her to discover things she never knew about him. There is a whodunit vein running throughout the book or at least a "whathehellhappened" kind of thing but the ending left me feeling empty and annoyed that I spent hours reading this book.

Honestly, I don't think I have anything positive to say about this book. Dana spends 85% of the book as one person and the last 15% as someone completely different. There is no explanation for her transformation and even if there was, I still don't think I'd buy it. It was a complete 180-degree change that was just utterly unbelievable. I had a lot of sympathy for Dana throughout the entire book. Then the ending just obliterated all of it.

I didn't even enjoy the writing. The sections that are written from Ethan's point of view as a pamphlet read like a badly written diary entry. He is basically whining about how mean Dana is to him and how that justified his affair and abandonment. He can't believe that when he tells his brother that he made out (what grown man calls kissing "making out") with Amaya (while married to Dana) his brother becomes angry and disappointed in him. What did he expect, a pat on the back? Permission because Dana is grouchy from working 90 hours a week? I hated that Ethan was made into such a terrible person that I didn't care that he was murdered. Or Amaya. I felt like that should have been the point of the book. He never came off as a sympathetic character.

This was just a truly underwhelming read that left me feeling cheated. I do not recommend.

*I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. ( )
  bgnbrooks | Jul 16, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a well paced and interesting novel. Quirky characters and plot but those make it interesting. Definitely a good summer read. Read and Reviewed after receiving a complimentary copy as part of LibraryThing Early Reviewers. ( )
  deldevries | Jul 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a copy of Soulmates by Jessica Grose through The LirbraryThing Early Reviewers program. I enjoyed this story that involves a new-age guru. Although a work of fiction, it's apparent the author researched the subject well.
At times funny and also sad, a fun read. ( )
  bbofje | Jul 12, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Soulmates is as much a side-eye look at New Age cafeteria spiritualism as it is a mystery, and that makes it fun. Dana’s husband Ethan left her and while she’s “over it” she really isn’t which comes home to her when she sees his face on the front page of a NYC tabloid. She reads the story, he and the yoga teacher he ran off with were both found dead in the Arizona death in what seems to be a murder suicide. Dana knows he could not possibly have murdered anyone, even the yoga teacher who stole him away. She heads to Arizona to investigate.

Her time in the ashram is amusing. There are the lululemon cliques who fangirl the Lama who is, it turns out, the owner of the yoga studio where her husband was sucked in. It’s all very complex and Oedipal.

I liked this story for most of the book. There was enough mystery to keep me interested. The “mystery” is intriguing. Everything was going great. Then, it abruptly ends and we get an “One Year Later” update that was purely awful. It felt as though Grose did not know how to finish the story, how to find the answers and have Dana move on. So she gave up and gave us this mess. If someone is seeking the answers to a mystery from page one, we need a bit more than conjecture. We also don’t need someone whose satiric wry mockery of the new age goo to turn on a dime after a bit of flattery. Dana was a great detective seeking answers. I really dislike the “answers” she found.

I received a copy of Soulmates from the publisher through a Shelf Awareness drawing.

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/9780062476067/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Jul 11, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062391577, Hardcover)

"For anyone who has ever suspected something sinister lurking behind the craze of new-age spirituality, Jessica Grose has crafted just the tale for you. With the delicious bite of satire and the page-turning satisfaction of a thriller, Soulmates is a deeply compelling, funny and sharply observed look at just how far we will go to achieve inner peace."—Lena Dunham

A clever, timely novel about a marriage, and infidelity, the meaning of true spirituality, perception and reality from the author of Sad Desk Salad, in which a scorned ex-wife tries to puzzle out the pieces of her husband’s mysterious death at a yoga retreat and their life together.

It’s been two years since the divorce, and Dana has moved on. She’s killing it at her law firm, she’s never looked better, thanks to all those healthy meals she cooks, and she’s thrown away Ethan’s ratty old plaid recliner. She hardly thinks about her husband—ex-husband—anymore, or about how the man she’d known since college ran away to the Southwest with a yoga instructor, spouting spiritual claptrap that Dana still can’t comprehend.

But when she sees Ethan’s picture splashed across the front page of the New York Post—"Nama-Slay: Yoga Couple Found Dead in New Mexico Cave"—Dana discovers she hasn’t fully let go of Ethan or the past. The article implies that it was a murder-suicide, and Ethan’s to blame. How could the man she once loved so deeply be a killer? Restless to find answers that might help her finally to let go, Dana begins to dig into the mystery surrounding Ethan’s death. Sifting through the clues of his life, Dana finds herself back in the last years of their marriage . . . and discovers that their relationship—like Ethan’s death—wasn’t what it appeared to be.

A novel of marriage, meditation, and all the spaces in between, Soulmates is a page-turning mystery, a delicious satire of our feel-good spiritual culture, and a nuanced look at contemporary relationships by one of the sharpest writers working today.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 15 May 2016 22:42:26 -0400)

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