The One That Got Away
It all starts with Facebook and a reality check in the mirror... Helen, a married, middle-aged woman, clicks on a high school reunion site on Facebook and finds herself staring at pictures of Rob—the old boyfriend—and his perfect life. When she learns he’s going to a mutual classmate’s wedding in Rome, she decides to go. But when she finally looks into Rob’s sexy and familiar eyes, she’s overwhelmed—afraid where her rekindled emotions will take her in the City of Love. When her husband shows up unannounced and confronts her, Helen runs away—drunk and confused—and spends the next few days roaming the streets of Rome, wrestling with past feelings come to life in the present tense. When Rob suddenly reappears, looking more handsome than ever, her cold feet thaw. It only takes one small kiss from him and suddenly she stands to lose everything.
Contrasting everyday life in gray, cloudy Seattle with sunny, romantic Rome, The One That Got Away is about the search for love and validation, and the perfect life—fueled by the Hallmark card images on Facebook where everyone is happier, prettier, and skinnier.
"We can all get confused and lost!
Helen is just like the rest of us: Even though we’re all grownups and supposed to have it all down, we can still get very insecure, and we are certainly not perfect which is why it was very engaging to read about how Helen reacts when she meets her old fiancé in Rome. Of course, it stirs up a lot of old feelings and puts Helen in an even more difficult and emotional situation when her husband shows up, too. Not your typical love triangle drama. More a modern love story about grownups and how we can all get confused and lost at any age."
This author’s writing has been compared to that of Jennifer Weiner!
♦ ♦ ♦
Best Book Bit:
“Girls!” Lori clears her throat and starts handing out the phones like she’s dealing a set of cards. “Girls,” she repeats, “you’re now officially added to the Facebook reunion group, but before you start tapping away…” She pauses for dramatic effect. “I’ve saved the best two for last. Drum roll please.” She looks around the table bursting to tell us. “We also have Rob freaking Lowe!”
All of a sudden my mouth runs all dry. She found Rob? Rob as in my Rob? Rob’s going to the reunion?
Kate stares at me eyes wide-open. I see her lips moving, but I can’t hear what she says. She inches closer and places her hand on top of mine and smiles, brows knitted together.
“Rob Lowe?” I think she’s asking.
“Uh-huh,” Lori confirms, glancing at me. “And, of course, the first thing he asked about was you, Helen.” She looks at Jill and rolls her eyes.
“As in the Rob Lowe?” Kate asks, this time directed at Lori.
Lori shakes her head and smiles. “No, as in Robert Lewinsky, but he was always Rob Lowe to us. He kinda has the same, you know, pretty blue eyes meet boyish face. Gorgeous! Never gave any of us the time of day. He only had eyes for this pretty face here.” She points at me and sighs.
I think I nod. I definitely feel weird. She actually talked with Rob?
Kate looks at me and smirks. “You and Rob Lowe, huh?”
“Yeah,” I try to say all casual. “But that was, like, a million years ago.” But why do I still feel a stab at the heart by the mention of his name. Why do I have a lump in my throat? It’s almost a million years ago, well, almost twenty, anyway. God, I feel silly.
“Yeah, but a million years later, and he still looks eatable. On top of my food pyramid, I tell ya. And now, in his forties almost, he can even throw in some sexy George Clooney salt-and-pepper hair. I tell ya, it’s not fair. Men just get sexier and sexier with time and we—”
“Just get fatter,” Jo interrupts, “no matter how you turn this food pyramid around. Fat from all angles!”
They all laugh and clink glasses. I look down at my phone. “Lori’s cool reunion group” it says. Of course, she would call it hers. I tap on it, and the first thing I see is him—standing on some remote beach, his arm wrapped around a tall woman with long blond hair. Suddenly, my legs go all soft. He looks so familiar yet so different. Maybe it’s the gray hair. Maybe it’s the lines around his eyes. Lori is right; he still looks sexy. I take a deep breath and tap on “More photos of Robert Lewinsky.”
“Another drum roll… three letters!” Lori yells making everyone around us turn their heads.
“Three?” Jill narrows her eyes at Jo, who in return shrugs her shoulders like she has no clue.
Lori holds up three fingers, nods, and gives us her best smile. “3-P-O,” she says, spelling it out with excitement her voice.
“You’re kidding me. You found 3PO?” Jill puts her glass down and looks at Jo.
“Freaking 3PO? I thought she had run off to Italy or at least that’s what my mom heard at Gene Juarez.” Jo looks at Lori with a facial expression clearly inherited from her mom, Mrs. Jensen, also known as the Plateau Whisperer.
“She did.” Lori reaches for her wineglass and nods.
“But how then?” Jo looks around the table for help.
“Surprising as it may sound, Jo, I do believe they’ve heard about this little thing called Facebook even in Italy.” Lori leans all the way back in her chair and smiles. Of course, she has put herself at the head of the table as always.
I look down at my phone, which is still uploading more pictures of Rob and this long and superskinny woman with perfect hair, of course. Why do I feel jealous all of a sudden? Why do I care what his wife or girlfriend or whatever looks like? I’m married to Mark—beautiful Mark—who loves to put his arm around me. Why do I feel like this? It’s silly. Snap out of it, I tell myself.
“3PO?” Kate leans over and whispers to me, pulling me from my thoughts.
I look up from my phone and explain “Um, it was this girl, Ophelia, who we used to call 3PO as in ‘three-hundred-pound Ophelia.’ I know, real cute, huh? But she wasn’t really that, um, fat…she was just a little chubby, you know.”
“She was huuuuuge,” Jill broadcasts to the entire restaurant.
“She was humongous.” Jo looks at Jill, and they both giggle.
“Okay, she was fat,” I agree, giving up my attempt to make us look better than we are. She was over two hundred pounds and only 5’2″. Of course she was fat!
“Well, not so much anymore.” Lori raises her painted eyebrows. “These days she’s more likely a 2PO, as in a size two petite 0. She lives in Rome, paints, and eats pasta.”
“And prays and makes love?” Jill adds, always trying to slip in a clever remark, always competing for the last word with Lori.
I liked the comedy and romance in this book. Helen has those feelings we always do as we get older. Trying to manage work and a family, we always start to lose sight of ourselves. I really enjoyed how she was still friends with classmates from school. We all our curious about what old classmates made of themselves.
I liked how this book was fast paced and easy to read. It read kind of like a movie. The authors use of @ at the beginning of each chapter was clever.
I would definitely recommend this book and read more by this author.
Loved every second of this! Helen is a very relatable character, in her late 30's with two teenage kids and a long marriage. Helen finds herself questioning who she is and what she wants in life. She heads to Rome for a wedding with her best friend and runs into her high-school sweetheart, the one that got away.
This is a funny, charismatic, heartfelt story. Helen reconnects with old friends, meets new, inspiring people along the way while discovering who she is truly meant to be. Pictures are worth a thousand words and Facebook versions of ourselves are not always as perfect as they seem.
I loved the Author's writing style, it flowed smoothly and kept me intrigued the entire way!