Infidelity is not an issue to be discussed lightly. I doubt that it is any more comfortable to write a book about cheating spouses than it is to read one, and I will say that this particular story did make me a bit uneasy, for a multitude of reasons.
Kamryn Cunningham is a character most people are familiar with. She grew up with rich, controlling parents, and once she’s about to get engaged to the boring man her parents intend for her, she decides it time to run off on her own. Her flight takes her all the way to Oregon, where she opens up a bakery and starts a new life, full of new friends. One of these friends is Kinlee Saco, sister-in-law to Brody Saco.
Brody is the perfect man for Kamryn. When they first meet at a party their eyes lock, the earth stops spinning, and they both know instantly that they’ve found their soulmate. The only problem? Brody is married.
Now, it should be said that Brody’s marriage is very much on the rocks. He never really loved his wife Olivia—they only married in the first place because she got pregnant. When their infant son died in a car accident, the only good thing about their relationship died with him. Five years later, Olivia is spending all of Brody’s money and manipulating him like a master puppeteer using her manic episodes and bouts of depression to get to him. At this point, Brody only stays with her out of guilt, which changes as soon as he lays eyes on Kamryn.
The awkward and uncomfortable part is what happens immediately after Brody and Kamryn meet. They think about each other constantly after that first moment, and then confess their extreme attraction to one another as soon as they’re together again a few days after the party. The two jump into a secret relationship within days of meeting.
To my mind, any couple that declares themselves as Brody and Kamryn do is a little odd. I had a difficult time understanding and empathizing with them, because I never got a strong enough sense of who they were individually to see how they would work together. As soon as they laid eyes on each other, their relationship was all they could think about. I didn’t see them fall into friendship and then love. I’m not sure why Kamryn needed Brody, all I know is that one day she was on her own, and the next she wasn’t sure how she’d survive without his presence in her life. While I don’t mind whirlwind romances in general, I didn’t really believe in this one.
Beyond that, of course, there’s the whole issue of adultery, which further distanced me from the characters. Brody was clearly unhappy in his marriage, and he had no problem filing for divorce once he realized that he wanted a life with Kamryn (which, as I said, was basically immediately). Why, then, could he not take two minutes to tell Olivia he was done with her before beginning something with Kamryn? Maybe it had to do with his feelings of guilt over the death of his son. I really couldn’t say. What I do know is that I might have been able to like this book more if I had understood its characters better.
However, it seems that the characters of Sharing You were not just figments of the author’s imagination. Ms. McAdams mentions in her Author’s Note that this book is in fact the story of a couple she knows in real life. I read that note before I read the actual book, and it made things very odd for me. You see, throughout the entire story, every time I questioned Brody or Kamryn’s actions, I had to wonder, “Did the real-life person do this? In judging this action, am I judging them?” It was certainly a different sort of reading experience.
At the end of the day, I must say that I didn’t really enjoy Sharing You. While the fact that there was adultery in it did make me uncomfortable, I was far more bothered by how little I understood the characters. Throughout the whole book, I had a bit of a sense that I was on the outside looking in. Perhaps this was due to Ms. McAdams writing a story based directly on someone else’s experiences?