Review: The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum

cover-opposite-love-pb Julie Buxbaum’s terrific debut novel, The Opposite of Love,  is about 29 year old Manhattan attorney Emily Haxby.  The story begins as Emily breaks up with Andrew, her boyfriend of two years with whom she’s had a happy, comfortable, passionate relationship, just as he seems to be on the verge of proposing marriage.  

No one understands this; not her friends, not her family, and she can’t articulate it very well to anybody.  We soon learn it’s not about the awesome Andrew- it has everything to do with Emily; her fear of being left has forced her to push him away.  “You’re your own worst enemy,” her best friend Jess tells her.  “It’s like you get pleasure out of breaking your own heart.” 

Emily’s outwardly enviable life is a little messy just below the surface. Emily’s job for a high powered law firm is sucking the life out of her, and her married boss is harassing her.  She has trouble connecting with others-communication is not her special talent.  Losing her mother to cancer at 14, Emily and her dad grew apart and shut down emotionally.  Grandpa Jack stepped in to pick up the slack and became her sole support system, and now her beloved grandpa has been diagnosed with Alzhiemers. 

As her grandpa’s health declines and her career falls apart, Emily braces herself for more loss.  Her dad, the lieutenant governor of Connecticut, is too busy and too in denial to help care for her grandpa, so decisions about his care fall to her.  Motherless Emily needs guidance and she finds it in the form of Ruth, a wise retired judge and friend of her Grandpa Jack, who encourages her to live her life fully and take chances.  

Bottom Line:  I really liked The Opposite of Love!  I cared about Emily and related to her complicated mess of conflicted feelings.  The writing is solid and the story, while light in some ways, is not fluffy.  There are very funny parts, but it is the kind of humor I like best- wry and sarcastic and intelligent.  It has a lot to say about relationships, communication, love, and loss.  Book clubs would find a lot to talk about (discussion questions can be found HERE) and the author is available for Q & A’s via email or chats.

I can’t wait to see The Opposite of Love on the big screen next year starring Anne Hathaway as Emily (fantastic casting!).  It’ll make a really good movie, but read it first.  As they say, the book is always better.

Author Julie Buxbaum’s website can be found HERE and her new book, After You, comes out August 25th.

20 Responses

  1. This sounds great. Wry, sarcastic and intelligent humor is my favorite too.

  2. This DOES sound good.

  3. It does sound like a good story. I, too, can see Anne Hathaway playing the female lead. Thanks for your review.

  4. I love good, dry humor too. You’ve got me wanting to read this one!

  5. “It’s like you get pleasure out of breaking your own heart.” LOVE that line!! I’ll keep my eye out for this one.

  6. Oh…I’m dying to read this book. Isn’t the cover really pretty?

    Glad you liked it.

  7. Great review! I can’t wait to pick up this book!

  8. This does sound really good, Lisa. And a movie! I guess I’d better read this one before that comes out. Thanks for the great review.

  9. I know you’re not huge on awards, but I gave you one anyway. It’s posting in my Sunday Salon post.



  10. Sounds great. And, since I’m in catching-up mode, I just read your post about not missing your daughter. That struck a chord. My eldest was always the one who made our household tense — fighting with his brother, disagreeing with the parents about *everything*, unhappy about his wardrobe (that one really threw me). When he went off to an engineering camp after his junior year in high school, I was stunned. I didn’t even realize he was the problem! All of a sudden, we had a calm, quiet household. My youngest son is laid-back and funny, a little bit quirky but low-maintenance. He doesn’t give a flip about clothing (none of that, “I can’t wear this brand! It’s obviously from Walmart!”) and he’s fairly reasonable for a teenager.

    Eldest is on his own, now. We love visiting him, but we are sooooo glad he’s out of our house for good!!!!

  11. Sounds like Emily has a lot going on! Great review Lisa – I’ll keep my eye out for this one. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

  12. Great review. This one looks good.

  13. Thanks so much for the lovely and incredibly thoughtful review! I am so glad you enjoyed The Opposite of Love, and so appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts about the book. If you get a chance to read my next one, After You (comes out late next month) you’ll have to drop me a line and let me know what you think! Thanks again.
    All the best,

    • Hi Julie! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I really enjoyed Opposite of Love and look forward to After You. I think you’re hugely talented!

  14. This looks like a great story with a lot of meat in it. I really like the sound of the plot and think this would be a perfect read for me. I am putting this one on my wish list and hope to be able to get to it soon. I will let you know what I think of it.

  15. I am really looking forward to reading this and seeing the movie. I got an advanced copy of After You and it was great.

  16. This sounds really fantastic — and I had no idea that Anne Hathaway was going to be in a film based on the novel! I absolutely love her; she’s pretty much my idol 🙂 Thanks for introducing me to both… the book is definitely going in my TBR stack!

  17. Opposite of love was actually my first book read in english, and I think it really set up the bar high:)
    I grapped it in a bookshop on the airport, obviously thanks to its lovely cover and FORTUNATELY it really corresponded with its content. Thanks Julie/Emilly.

  18. got the book as my birthday gift from my cousin and totally enjoyed reading it. But, did they cancel the movie? I can’t find it in any watch-movie-online site.

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