This book started off interesting and captivating and I was eager to see where it would go. However, after a certain point, it got quite boring. Basically just waiting for the inevitable. I didn’t like Jake as a character, so I wasn’t rooting for his relationship with Mattie. I think Mattie would have been better off without him. I mean, I guess she needed the help, but he’s just not a likeable guy. He’s done a lot of crappy things to her.
I’m actually not a huge fan of Mattie either. I’m not sure why. I just wasn’t able to fully sympathize with her, even though she goes through a whole lot of hell throughout this book. I just didn’t find her all that likeable either. For different reasons than Jake, though. I just couldn’t fully connect with her, which is unfortunate in a story like this. Not connecting with her really ruined the whole story for me.
I didn’t like how the perspective would switch within the same chapter, from one paragraph to the next, without indicating so. It was immediately apparent, because the first sentence would have the character’s name in it, but I still didn’t care for the way it was done.
I found it unrealistic when the characters would psychoanalyze each other. They acted like they were educated counsellors. They just knew exactly what was going on and what to say to help. Both Mattie and Jake had moments like this. It’s like everyone knows how to be someone’s therapist in this book. And apparently better than the actual therapist that Kim sees.
I would say I connected most with the characters and the story at the end and the beginning. The whole middle was just kind of meh for me.
Overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. It wasn’t a bad book, though. It kept me captivated throughout, but just didn’t do much for me.
Best Aspect: Captivity
Worst Aspect: Romance
About the book
Expanding the scope of her storytelling as never before, “New York Times” bestselling author Joy Fielding delivers the novel that will captivate her devoted fans and win her countless new readers: an exquisitely tender and richly textured love story of astonishing emotional force.
Behind the shiny facade of her seemingly idyllic life in Chicago, Mattie Hart feels as if she is falling apart. After sixteen years of marriage, and one beautiful teenage daughter, Mattie has discovered that her husband, Jake, a high-profile defense attorney, is ensconced in yet another love affair.
It is only after Jake finally confesses his infidelity and leaves to live with his girlfriend that a far greater crisis descends upon the embattled Hart family — Mattie receives some devastating news that will alter all their lives. Wracked by guilt at these unforeseen developments, Jake returns home to be with Mattie. Here, in this most daunting and unexpected of circumstances, Joy Fielding deftly ushers her characters through a poignant and heartbreaking drama about love’s astonishing power to defy the greatest odds and to heal the deepest wounds.
Bearing all the distinctive qualities of a contemporary classic, “The First Time” is a dazzling illumination of a marriage at the crossroads, where the ties that bind become frayed but refuse to sever, and where a long estranged husband and wife discover, for the first time, exactly what love really means. At once profoundly cathartic and inspiring, “The First Time” finds Joy Fielding at the height of her powers as she explores the amazing resilience of the human spirit.