What does it mean to be an adult? What does it take to be a parent, a husband, a wife? Where is the line between being flawed and being a bad person? Above all of the questions, though, hovers the central tension in author Eliza Kennedy’s debut novel I Take You: what is the value of marriage and monogamy?
I Take You is a novel about a woman in her twenties, Lily Wilder, who is about to marry Will, a man she has known for six months and who proposed to Lily after only weeks of knowing her. Not only that, but Lily is a pathological liar, cheater, drug abuser, and borderline alcoholic – none of which her fiancé Will knows about.
Throughout I Take You, Lily is at constant war with herself as to whether she should marry Will or not. Should she quit her gallivanting and devote herself to a single man? Is that what she wants? Is she even capable of being faithful?
Surrounded by a hoard of divorced mothers and a libertine father, Lily has a hard time discerning what is right and wrong in the world of love and marriage. How much can you ever know a person before marrying them anyway? How can you ever truly know it’s the “right” person or that the relationship will last forever? What if that person is the right person for that moment in time, but you change and evolve in different ways that make you incompatible later?
While these are valid questions to raise, they become slightly less valuable in the face of Will and Lily’s rather overzealous engagement: there’s no way they can know each other by the point of their marriage. Nonetheless, they are important questions to be asked, because in the end, what does it mean to be in love? How does love then become qualified for marriage? Is a strong feeling the same as love; is it just passion, or something else entirely?
In Lily’s particular case, she is chronically unfaithful to her fiancé, and the reader wonders what this has to say about Lily. She is fully aware of her actions, of the pain she’s sure her actions will cause, and yet she doesn’t change. Is she incapable of change? Does she simply choose not to change, and does this selfishness make her a bad person?
The book spirals into wild developments that change the entire nature of the arguments presented and delve into deeper, harder, and more terrifying questions about love, marriage, and monogamy. Kennedy does a great job of tying up her ends without a total “happily ever after” or doomsday ending.
I Take You, is a book about so many different things, but when it comes down to it, it’s really about being human, about experiencing the human condition of loving and being loved, and about both living in the present moment and being aware that a future exists where your present actions will have an impact.
Published by Broadway Books in 016, I Take You is available for purchase at your local bookstore.
FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.