On the Rocks
by Erin Duffy
Published by William Morrow
Genre: women’s fiction; chick lit
4 / 5
Imagine this: you are shopping for your wedding gown, and as you stand in a Vera Wang confection (your dream dress!), sipping on complimentary Champagne, your best friend and Maid of Honor happens to check Facebook.
And discovers that your fiancé considers himself to be no longer in a relationship.
Such is the nightmare that Abby faces in the opening pages of this book.
She reacts the way most of us would: she digs into pints of Ben & Jerry’s and soothes her aching heart with ice cream and self-pity. When six months passes and she has progressed onto no new stage of grief, best friend Grace drags her by the scruff of the neck and hauls her out to a rental cottage to spend the summer near a Rhode Island beach.
Abby’s summer of self-discovery is as rocky as they come. She doesn’t want to go, even if she realizes that Grace has a point. Abby likes feeling sorry for herself; she enjoys the sadness that comes from her broken heart. Ben, the ex-fiancé, texts her occasionally, and Abby jumps at those texts like a dog to a bone. How self-flagellating can you get?
Grace knows, though, that Abby needs to remove herself from memories of Ben and to create new ones. In doing so, Abby will prepare her heart for a new romance, perhaps even with someone she meets in Rhode Island. Not that Grace is much of an expert in the ways of love, mind you. Grace’s boyfriend has a wife of his own, rendering Grace one of those women who thinks her lover will forsake his marriage and commit to her.
And so Abby heads to Rhode Island, where she first meets one of Grace’s co-workers, and then begins meeting others. She goes on dates, she makes new friends, she winds up enjoying herself, which surprises her most of all.
She also – more importantly – learns to be her own person, something that Grace observes. Can Grace apply these lessons to her own life?
This is a wonderful story of friendship, first and foremost. Yes, Grace has little romantic interludes, but it turns out that Whitney Houston had it right: the greatest love of all is learning to love yourself.
You will enjoy meeting all of the quirky characters in this book, but most of all, you will enjoy tagging along on Abby and Grace’s voyages of self-realization. We want them to be happy, internally more than anything. Erin Duffy knows this, and she crafts characters who seem like us, like our friends, like people we know and are. By rooting for them, we root for ourselves.