The Breakaway by Jennifer Weiner
Standalone. Women’s Fiction/Romance.
Releasing August 29, 2023
Thank you Atria and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this early. This post contains affiliate links.
It’s been about 15 years since I read a Jennifer Weiner book. Why did I stay away? I remember how relatable she was back then, and I found her just as relatable now. As a Jewish mid-to-plus sized woman with a skinny mom for whom weight is a big deal, I found Abby to be so relatable it actually freaked me out a little!
The following three quotes sum up Abby’s relationship with her mom:
“The less of Abby there was, the more Eileen liked it. The more Eileen liked her.”
“Just like pop culture buffs could link any actor to Kevin Bacon in fewer than six steps, her mother could swing any conversation around to weight in just two or three.”
“She knew about the weight-loss drugs, and the surgical options—mostly because Eileen insisted on mailing her links every few weeks, usually with a note attached that said something like Gary and I would be more than happy to help with this!”
These three quotes were 100% relatable to me, except I love my mom, she is amazing, loving, generous and complimentary, she just has this hangup about weight, and deep down I know it’s because she wants me to be healthy and happy. Abby never seemed to get past this problem with her mom. As a child, Abby wanted to go to drama camp, but instead she was sent to fat camp every summer where she met Mark, her current boyfriend. He has had weight loss surgery and is now very good looking and fit, and keeps to a VERY strict diet, while Abby wants to enjoy life and her food, and doesn’t mind if that makes her a little bigger.
Abby is 34 and healthy. For as long as she can remember she has been riding bikes and it is a major part of her life that sadly, her boyfriend doesn’t share. She is part of a cycling club and was just asked to lead a 2-week bike tour for the first time from New York City to Niagara Falls. Mark has been pressuring her to move in with him, but something was holding her back, so she decided that the two weeks apart would be a good time to work out what was holding her back.
When she meets the group she will be leading, she sees a familiar face: Sebastian, the guy with whom she had the most amazing one-night-stand ever 2 years prior. The one she never stopped thinking about. Also her mom decided to join the trip at the last minute in the hopes of bonding with her daughter. Surprise!
There was a lot to tackle in The Breakaway. We not only have Abby’s story, but we have Sebastian’s and all of the rest of the people on the tour. There was a large side story that included an abortion, so if that is something you are against, this is not the book for you. I thought it was handled very realistically and very well, but I almost think it should have been a novel in itself.
I felt bad for Mark. Abby knew he loved her more than she loved him, and it seemed like she was just using him because she didn’t think she could get any better.
“He’s smart, he’s kind, he’s employed, he’s generous. He makes me laugh. He loves me.” She paused. “And it’s not like there’s hundreds of other guys waiting in the wings.”
She didn’t want to deal with the dating:
“Guys whose eyes skipped right over her as if she were invisible. Men on the apps with weak chins and receding hairlines, beer guts and bald spots who felt absolutely no compunctions about inboxing her to tell her how much prettier she’d be if she went to the gym, went on a diet, ate less, exercised more. She loathed the idea of more of that.”
So totally relatable! But Mark was a really good guy and I felt bad for him. It made me not like Abby as much as I could have.
- How relatable Abby is.
- Abby’s self-loathing thoughts—I totally got her.
- The book featured Jewish characters but wasn’t about being Jewish.
- The message that you don’t have to be skinny to be fit.
- The addition of a few other POV chapters. I thought it was interesting and unique.
- I liked getting to know the other riders.
- There was cheating.
- Her mother’s disclosure at the end seemed very strange.
- I did not like the way Mark was treated.
- I didn’t love Abby.
- The abortion storyline. I really liked the whole story so much, but I almost think it should have been its own book. Lily had her own story as well as Morgan.
- The end. My romance-loving heart wanted a little more, but it fit perfectly in this story.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.25 Stars, 1.5 Heat
Pre-order The Breakaway by Jennifer Weiner
Releases August 29th 2023