“Love means you can never be apart”: How it feels to fall in love with an imaginary friend

Did you have an imaginary friend when you were little? A Drop Dead Fred of sorts? Did you have that guest at your tea party or the giraffe that you played “Jungle” with in the backyard? Or was it a beautiful human being that was there for every tear, every laugh, every special moment of your life? Well a young girl named Jane had such a friend. His name was Michael. And he was her one true love.

This type of story line could only come from a great book. And that book is Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson. If you’re familiar with Patterson, you may be surprised to see that he wrote a romance. James is mostly known for his drama and mystery novels. But when he does romance, he does it well. This book is co-authored by Gabrielle Charbonnet and it is definitely on my Top 10 Favorite Book list.

The story starts off with Jane and Michael on a Sunday afternoon partaking of their normal ritual for that day: Ice cream at the St. Regis Plaza in New York. Michael is an imaginary friend who is randomly assigned to young children, but as part of his fate, he must leave them when they are nine. On Jane’s ninth birthday, after being completely snubbed by her overbearing mother and her cradle robbing father, Michael finally admits to Jane that he has to leave her that very night but promises that she will forget about him. 23 years later, even though Jane has a boyfriend, she still hasn’t forgotten about Michael. She has even written a Broadway production based on her childhood adventures with him, and ironically, her new beau is in the lead role playing Michael.

Jane’s life isn’t exactly peachy. She works for her controlling mother and her boyfriend Hugh is no catch. She spends a lot of time by herself and wavers in and out of sadness and depression. After another stood up date, she is spotted on the street by none other than, Michael. He’s on break in between assignments and he immediately recognizes Jane, even though he has never before seen one of his kids as an adult. They eventually meet up and once they rekindle the friendship they once had, the story takes an even more romantic and gripping turn. I won’t give anymore of the plot away because this is definitely one you need to read on your own and take what you will from how the story ends.

This book is an easy read and is one of those that you can’t really put down. I love Patterson’s writing style. He puts a lot of effort into the detailing of his stories so you feel what the characters feel and you see what they see. I love feeling like I am sitting there at the St. Regis with Jane and Michael eating a chocolate sundae and talking about childhood memories. I also love the way the bok brings me back to my own childhood and makes me think about how we all interacted with an imaginary friend. We all may not have had one, but the idea that we could possibly fall in love with the one person or thing that knew us better than our own parents did at that age is just exciting. It’s all about childhood innocence and how an “imaginary” love can turn into something so pure and true.

I’d definitely rate this one higher than The Notebook on romance but not higher on the cry factor. While I did shed a tear or two, I definitely was not bawling at the end. Which is a good thing. Because I hate it when the pages get wet.

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