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The Idea of Him


The Idea of Him

There’s a clever quote on the nature of marriage, widely attributed to Benjamin Franklin, which prescribes the following: “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterwards.”  Thirty-four-year-old Allie Crawford listened to half that advice. Once an aspiring screenwriter, Allie has traded in Final Draft for her busy job as a PR exec for publicity dynamo Murray Hillsinger, and life with her husband, Wade, an over-scheduled magazine editor, and their two young children.

However, this is par for the course for a busy working mom in post-2008 economic crash New York City. Her desire to please the difficult men in her life could be traced back to losing her father at age 16, a loss you learn to live with but never overcome. But even beset, she manages to keep all these balls in the air. In an effort to keep her dream of writing alive, Allie is taking a screenwriting course at night, cramming it into her already-overstuffed schedule. Even though she is once again finding joy in writing, this class is adding to her list of distractions, especially when her handsome classmate, Tommy, shows interest in her. 

"Peterson’s carefully observed cultural critiques metered with humor, and her relatable protagonist, leave the reader thoroughly entertained and eagerly awaiting more."

Feeling she might be falling down on part of her job as a wife, Allie obligingly hosts endless events to bolster revenue for Wade’s dwindling magazine.  But when she catches him in their laundry room with a gorgeous blonde, obviously sharing an intimate moment, Allie is forced to take a cold, hard look at her life and her choices. The early days of her courtship and marriage with Wade were so romantic and wonderful, but lately, she has felt more like a glorified hostess than a partner:  “What did this guy actually give to me? For a horrible, terrifying, very honest moment, I thought to myself: Was I just wanting and needing to rock his so much I don’t even know the answer?”

But the cool blonde Allie discovers with her husband turns out to be more than just a wake-up call. Jackie Malone is the lynchpin to something far bigger. Somehow she holds vital information to both Allie’s personal and professional lives. Just how is she connected to her boss, and where does Wade come into the picture? Allie will have to silence her instincts and learn to trust Jackie if she wants to find the answers she needs and repair her fractured life. To complicate matters, James, Allie’s best friend from childhood with whom she has shared an on-again, off-again flirtation, has reached out. Is his timing just random, or is it kismet? 

In THE IDEA OF HIM, Holly Peterson (whose debut novel, THE MANNY, was a bestseller) once again demonstrates her considerable skill in writing about relationships without being predictable or cloying. What may seem like your typical “chick-lit” fare at first glance quickly shows itself to be anything but. Peterson’s astute novel shines a light on the nature of interactions in our complicated modern age, and how easy it is to be won over by who a person is “on paper” instead of who they are in actuality. Peterson’s carefully observed cultural critiques metered with humor, and her relatable protagonist, leave the reader thoroughly entertained and eagerly awaiting more.

Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on April 4, 2014

The Idea of Him
by Holly Peterson

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062283103
  • ISBN-13: 9780062283108