There’s a lot to say for another author’s testimonial on the jacket of a book. On the strength of Jonathan Tropper’s recommendation (that this book “Positively shines with wisdom and intelligence“), I picked up The First Husband by Laura Dave.
The First Husband is the story of Annie, a travel writer based in Los Angeles and happily ensconced in life with partner Nick, a film director who has just had his first major break. But there’s trouble ahead – Nick reunites with an old flame and dumps Annie. Annie, seemingly on the re-bound meets Griffin. And marries him. No surprises that Nick returns on the scene declaring he made a mistake letting Annie go.
You can probably guess exactly how this book ends (and you’re probably right). However that doesn’t stop The First Husband being a thoroughly enjoyable, light read.
Dave’s dialogue is sharp and funny (not as laugh-out-loud funny as Tropper but I stopped making unfair comparisons after the first few chapters!). For example –
“‘….I know the tip of the Berkshires is not exactly the bastion of journalistic activity.’
I looked up at him. ‘Did you just say ‘bastion’?’
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I thought you’d enjoy it.’
I smiled at him. ‘I did.'”
and this –
“‘Maybe you should spend more than ten minutes inside my life before making that assessment,’ I said. ‘Maybe freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose.’
She tilted her head. ‘Did you really just quote Janis Joplin?’
‘Maybe!’ I said, gathering steam. And volume.”
I reckon good dialogue is really difficult to write. To often it comes across as forced or unnatural but Dave has a certain rhythm that gives the scenes between friends, siblings and partners an edge.
I’ll certainly read more from Laura Dave – her style is light (but not fluffy), easy-to-read and steers well clear of the schmaltzy, ‘must-have-a-man’ type of characters that dominate chick-lit.
Pair this book with scrambled eggs – there’s a lovely ‘midnight scrambled eggs’ scene that is so perfectly described that you can feel the sexual tension and anticipation jumping off the page. In the book, Griffin (a chef), makes scrambled eggs with lobster.
3.5/5 If you’re searching for well-written chick-lit, look no further than The First Husband.