In Modern Lovers, a new novel by Emma Straub, the dynamics of this family’s life are endlessly intertwined. I’m a true believer in the famous words, “friends are the family we choose for ourselves,” and this story embodies that. Andrew and Elizabeth are married, and heading towards 50. They met in college, where they were members of the same band with their good friends Zoe and Lydia. Zoe and Lydia had been a couple back in the day, but then Lydia made it big in the music industry, she left the other band members to make new lives for themselves.
Lydia’s life was short, and in the shadow of her fame Zoe, Elizabeth and Andrew have built a new world for themselves. Zoe’s wife, Jane, opened a restaurant in thier Brooklyn neighborhood. Elizabeth is a real estate agent in the area, Zoe and Andrew seem to float through life on their instincts. Both couples have one child, roughly the same ages but the two couldn’t be more different. Ruby is a badass, trouble-making, good-hearted girl. Henry is a dork, but will likely make something quite impressive of himself.
Andrew gets involved in EVOLVEment, a new yoga and lifestyle “studio” in their neighborhood. The guru leader is his new best friend, and the more he find himself with the new community, the more tumultuous things at home seem to become. It’s the extreme of that kind of community, a bunch of hippies sharing a home and being truly bohemian, and the results are suspicious.
Modern Lovers was a good read, and a fairly quick one. I joined the Book of the Month club in May and have, so far, been very impressed with the books I’ve received. It’s motivated me to invest in my passion for reading, and in tandem with my book group it’s been a very unique and inspiring couple of months in my head.