Saturday, 3 May 2014

You're The One that I Want, or How to Write the Perfect Ending to a Love Triangle

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had. 
And that's the problem. 
Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right? 
Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it...
In my opinion, love triangles often cause the downfall of a good novel.  It's darn difficult to get the reader invested equally in both relationships, as well as giving them a satisfactory ending.  So usually, I avoid them like the plague.  But Giovanna Fletcher wrote Billy and Me and - as Kevin from I Heart Chick Lit pointed out - that was utterly irresistible, so I decided to give it a try.

And I'm damn pleased I did.

You're the One That I Want opens at Maddy's wedding to Rob, their mutual best friend Ben standing at his side as best man, and then heads back through their childhood, adolescent and university years.  But the thing I love best is the way that the three narratives all end up intertwined.  The main bulk of the narrative is told by Maddy and Ben, alternating chapters that draw us in and make us love them, and in between those, we have Rob's wedding speech.

It's sweet and funny, and you can't help but become attached to each of the characters, no matter who you think Maddy should fall for.  The "tripod", as they say themselves, wouldn't work if one of them wasn't there and it's testament to Fletcher's writing skill that we value each of them.

Here's the interesting thing though.  The ending makes the book.  I'm not going to spoil it - partly because I don't approve of spoilers in reviews, and partly because it'd ruin the book.  Your initial responses to the characters change as they grow and develop, and the choice Maddy makes at the end, in my opinion, makes sense only because we've got to know all three of them.  So if you're tempted to check out the ending before reading the rest - don't.

Plus it made me cry.  It's always the sign of a good book when makes you cry and I was in floods over this.  Good tears, sad tears and all sorts.  Thank goodness for disinterested London commuters - I just about managed to hide it!

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