I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

In brief: Lily is going to marry Will…right? He’s just the right man for her, if she could give up flirting, random sex and creating havoc.

The good: Laugh out loud funny at times.

The not-so-good: Gets a bit heavy towards the end with the anti-monogamy soliloquies.

Why I chose it: Looked different – thanks to Vintage for the eARC.

Year: 2015

Pages: 320 (eARC)

Publisher: Vintage (Random House)

Setting: USA

My rating: 6 out of 10

I Take You is a crazy, unpredictable book that combines comic moments with some serious comments about fidelity and monogamy. I’m glad I’m not a bookseller, because I would not know where to shelve this book! It has elements of humour, chick lit, legal drama and thoughts on relationships. I think you would need to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy this book – suspend disbelief and expectations and you’ll be on the road to enjoying it. With all these elements though, there comes the feeling that not everything is explored in as much depth as perhaps it could have been. The crazy mother-in-law thing subsided as did the forgetful wedding planner who can’t text. The legal stoush took a backseat for most of the book until it was front and centre and the upcoming wedding zig zagged in and out of the narrative. The crazy family stuff was fun but the husband/ex-wife love er, square? Could have been more dramatic and more detailed. But overall, I Take You defies the borders of conventional fiction and pushes things to the stratosphere.

The premise of the story seems simple enough initially. Lily is a young lawyer who is getting married in a week. Life is hectic and she hardly sees her fiancé Will while at home in New York. She’s even called away from her hen’s night to work…but it ends up being a dalliance with her boss. That’s where we get the first inkling that Lily is not as pure as she seems. The narrative then moves to Florida for the wedding. There are the wild shenanigans you’d expect with family, wedding planners, friends and the in-laws. There’s also a subplot that Lily has to prep a witness for the case she’s working on (the prep is hilarious, the witness is a lawyer’s worst nightmare) and you think this book is a wild rom-com. Then it starts getting deeper with Lily meeting her childhood friend Teddy again. Something bad happened in their shared past, but what is it? Then Will starts acting suspiciously. Lily’s family are at her to call off the wedding when Will hits her with a bombshell. While her witness’s deposition is in outlandish swing, there are ruminations on fidelity, monogamy and love.

I found the story to be quite up and down in places. When it’s humorous, it’s crazy fun and I could see this being a hilarious movie. The serious parts, like Lily’s past and the reflections on marriage seemed occasionally out of place and dropped the pace of the book from frenzied to reflective. Eliza Kennedy definitely has a way with humour and dialogue, but I think that there has been a little bit too much crammed into I Take You for one book. In my opinion, it could have worked as two books (the serious versus the silly) or as a series of novellas. There are loads of issues to cover here from sexual freedom to trust and sometimes it feels overpowering. I felt like I only saw part of Lily’s character (what she wanted me to see) while other characters weren’t as fleshed out (I would have liked to see more of her feisty gran). I’d love to see more of one side, the lighter or the darker in more of Kennedy’s work. Both show promise but they just didn’t quite gel for me when put together.

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