It was easy to love your idea of someone – to fall hard for their very best self. The question was whether, once you had to spend some time living with their worst self, you could bear to be with them anymore.
I’m not sure what I expected from Truly. All I know is I felt like I had to read it… and I was thrilled when the publisher approved my request. I’ll be honest – the only reason I even wanted to read this book is because the main character is a Wisconsin transplant living in New Jersey. (I’m also a Wisconsin transplant living in New Jersey, so I felt some camaraderie with May from the beginning.) But the story was so, so good even without the little stabs of nostalgia from reading about midwest living.
May wasn’t a big fan of the east coast even before her boyfriend’s disastrous, insulting, inebriated, very public proposal. It didn’t help that the whole disaster (shrimp fork stabbing and all) was caught on video and immediately went viral. It didn’t help that she got mugged and ended up stranded in Manhattan with nothing but a $5 bill and a Metro card to her name. It certainly didn’t help that when she found herself at a Packers bar in the middle of the day, there wasn’t a single person who looked midwest nice.
Ben was still reeling from the end of his marriage and the collapse of his cooking career. He’d once owned a successful restaurant with his wife, been part of a huge cookbook franchise, been on his way to great things, and now he had a pile of money from the divorce settlement and not much else. The stress from owning a restaurant, and from constantly fighting with his wife, had made him angry and closed off. He was done with emotions, thank you very much. He’d prefer to be alone.
So what happens when fearlessly optimistic May strikes up a conversation with the biggest crankypants she’s ever met? Not a lot, until Ben’s friend bets him that he can’t even pretend to be nice. As Ben makes an effort to help out a fellow Wisconsinite, his carefully constructed walls start falling down.
This book was so good. The character development, the plot development, even the side characters – everything is perfectly written. May’s sister, her parents, Ben’s family, everybody is a fully fleshed out character. It’s awesome to read something, especially an uncorrected proof that’s so well-written and well-developed. I stayed up late reading this book the day I started it. Then I got up early to read more before work. Then I came home from work and read until I finished. It’s that good.
Is the second book out yet? Can I just buy everything Ruthie Knox has ever written?
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC.
Final rating: ★★★★☆