Monday, March 3, 2014

The Innocents

The InnocentsTitle: The Innocents
Author: Francesca Segal
Read: February 28, 2014

Summary: What if everything you'd ever wanted was no longer enough?

Adam and Rachel are getting married at last. Childhood sweethearts whose lives and families have been intertwined for years; theirs is set to be the wedding of the year.

But then Rachel's cousin Ellie makes an unexpected return to the family fold. Beautiful, reckless and troubled, Ellie represents everything that Adam has tried all his life to avoid - and everything that is missing from his world. As the long-awaited wedding approaches, Adam is torn between duty and temptation, security and freedom, and must make a choice that will break either one heart, or many. goodreads

Review: After I read this book, I found out that it is a retelling of The Age of Innocence. I'm sorry to say I have never read that book and I didn't have any idea what it was about (until I read this story.) This means I will not be able to compare and contrast these two books as most people probably do. This is probably a good thing because I'm sure if you've heard of this book, you don't need another viewpoint of that. In normal Emily fashion, I'm going to lay out my thoughts and just let my opinions fly. Here goes!

The story follows Adam through his relationship with Rachel as well as his eventual relationship with her cousin, Ellie. Adam lives in a little Jewish bubble in London where everyone knows everyone else's business and gossip runs rampant. The funny thing about this town is that the judging and gossip is so commonplace that it is just accepted as part of life. As you can imagine, this leads to a lot of guilt and responsibility.

Very early on in the book, I had an idea of where this story was going based on the following quote about Adam's relationship with Rachel:

"Rachel never surprised him, and he considered it a testament to their intimacy that he could predict her reactions with complete confidence. Life, he knew, provided enough of the unexpected. Adam had perspective. A steady and loyal copilot was more important thyan whatever passing frisson might come with more spontaneous spirits."

Looking back on it, I have the same thought as the first time that I read it. This sounds nice and a little bit like settling but he sounds relatively content. But it also led to some foreshadowing because it is clear he is only content because he has never had anything else to compare her to. Unfortunately, as soon as something else strikes his fancy, Adam is no longer content. That fancy striking thing just happens to be Rachel's cousin, Ellie.

You can guess for yourself what happens and the guilt and shame that result. But the story didn't turn out like I expected. In the end, a lot of innocence was lost but I think that had to happen in order for the main characters to grow. Their innocence in their bubble was appealing for a very long time until their eyes were opened and they saw that there was more out there. There is a lot of judgement in this novel but instead of focusing on who you could judge while reading it, I think it is more important who you can forgive for their faults because you remember losing your innocence. Very interesting and maybe I'll have to check out The Age of Innocence.

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