When we first meet Annie Adams in Laura Dave's The First Husband, she has what looks to be a fabulous life. She's a travel writer who spends 200 days of the year exploring the world. When she comes home to Los Angeles, it's to her up-and-coming director boyfriend Nick and their dog. She's got all she's ever dreamed of and can hardly believe it. Then she has to go and muck it all up by watching Roman Holiday.
Roman Holiday is a wonderful movie, it just happens to be bad luck for Annie. Every time she's watched it, something horrible has happened soon after. Her parents divorcing. Finding out a house she was planning to move into burned down. Finding out her first post-college position has been eliminated 48 hours before she was supposed to move to New York City. So really, it wasn't surprising to her that right after she watched Roman Holiday, Nick dumped her. It just made sense.
Credit: Ben Smith on Flickr
She is still recovering from the break-up when she meets Griffin. It's easy to understand why Annie likes Griffin. He's just a good, sweet person. He also makes wonderful scrambled eggs in the middle of the night with lobster and Gruyère. (Seriously, I want some of those eggs.) It's rather difficult not to like Griffin. All the same, Annie is shocked when he proposes just three months after they meet. Can she dare to dream of a different life?
Annie is a character that I can't say I completely understood, but she was someone I wanted to understand. I don't mean that in a bad way or to indicate the author did a poor job with the character. I think most of us have a friend or two who is simply different than us. They see and live in the world differently. They do things that we wouldn't do. We can love them dearly but not ever completely understand them. That's how I felt about Annie. I got her and I had moments when I understood her actions but ultimately I didn't really understand her. I loved that about her.
The First Husband isn't just about romance and boyfriends. It's also about figuring out what we want from life. What happens when we get everything we ever wanted and it turns out it's really not what we want? Or is it? How can you tell? How do you know? It's something Annie struggles with, as I think many of us do.
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