Love the One You're With book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The New York Times bestselling author of Something Borr. Love the One You're With is a powerful story about one woman at the “I so loved Emily Giffin's last three books that I almost didn't want to crack her latest effort. Love the One You're With is written in Ellen's nicely conversational voice. As was very much the case with your first book, Something Borrowed.
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Can you really love the one you're with when you can't forget the one who got away? “Giffin's books are funny, sensitive and truthful depictions of female. This content was uploaded by our users and we assume good faith they have the permission to share this book. If you own the copyright to this book and it is. Love The One You're With is a book written by Emily Giffin. This is the story of Ellen, a woman who lost the greatest love of her life, yet managed to marry.
As she feels she is getting sucked back in by Leo, Ellen agrees to follow her husband to Atlanta where he has been offered a position at his father's firm. This move however does not succeed in making Ellen forget about Leo. But upon reflecting on the matter, Ellen goes back to New York to see Leo and tell him they cannot be together as she is married, she doesn't want to ruin her marriage and she doesn't want to be with a man who did not want to be with her years ago.
Even though her marriage with Andy has been challenged, they still manage to make it work and stay together. Best part of story, including ending: I love this story as this is a love story wherein a woman has it all and her life becomes challenged. It is interesting to see what decisions the character will make.
Best scene in story: When Ellen first ran into Leo and he heart started pounding and she thought she was seeing a ghost. I like this scene as it shows a significant love can remain as significant years later.
Opinion about the main character: I like that Ellen remains strong and chooses to stay with her husband instead of going back to Leo who had been willing to let her go.
I found her in our room, applying a thick layer of metallic blue eye liner while listening to Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" on her boom box.
I read Margot's full name aloud, and then shared my predictions in an accent right out of Steel Magnolias, my best frame of reference for the South. I even cleverly worked in white pillars, Scarlett O'Hara, and servants aplenty. Mostly I was joking, but I also felt a surge of anxiety that I had picked the wrong school. I should have stuck to Pitt or Penn State like the rest of my friends. I was going to be a fish out of water, a Yankee misfit.
I watched Suzanne step away from her full-length mirror, propped at an angle to minimize the freshman-fifteen she hadn't been able to shed, and say, "Your accents suck, Ellen. You sound like you're from England, not Atlanta. And jeez, how 'bout giving the girl a chance? What if she assumed that you were a steel-town girl with no fashion sense?
Ironically, my moody sister was at her most likable when she was ripping on me. Suzanne kept laughing as she rewound her cassette and belted out, "I walked these streets, a loaded six string on my back! And either way, you might really like her. Her engraved silver monogram was the elaborate cursive kind, where the G of her last name was larger and flanked by the M and H. I wondered which rich relative she had slighted by overthrowing the E.
The tone was effusive eight exclamation points in all yet also strangely businesslike. She said she couldn't wait to meet me. She had tried to call me several times but hadn't been able to reach me we didn't have call-waiting or an answering machine, a fact that embarrassed me. She said she would bring a small refrigerator and her stereo which played CDs; I still hadn't graduated from cassettes.
She was hoping we could download matching comforters. She had found some cute pink and sage green ones by Ralph Lauren, and offered to pick up two for us if I thought this sounded nice.
But if I wasn't a pink person, we could always go with yellow and lavender, "a fine combination. She told me she "truly" hoped that I would enjoy the rest of my summer and then signed the letter "Warmly, Margot," a closing that, oddly enough, seemed more cool and sophisticated than warm. I had only ever signed letters with "Love" or "Sincerely" but made a mental note to try "Warmly" on for size. It would be the first of many things I'd copy from Margot.
I worked up the courage to phone her the next afternoon, clutching a pen and pad in my hand to be sure I didn't miss anything, such as a suggestion that we coordinate our toiletries—keep everything in the pastel family.
The phone rang twice and then a male voice said hello. I assumed it was Margot's father, or perhaps it was the gardener in for a tall glass of freshly squeezed lemonade.
In my most proper telephone voice, I asked to speak to Margot. Club, I thought. We belonged to a club, technically speaking, but it was really just the neighborhood pool, called a club, which comprised a small, rectangular pool flanked by a Fritosserving snack bar on one end, a diving board on the other, all surrounded by a chain-link fence. I was fairly certain that Margot's club was a different sort altogether.
I imagined the rows of clay tennis courts, the dainty sandwiches served on china plates, the rolling hills of the golf course spotted with weeping willows, or whatever tree was indigenous to Georgia. His Southern accent was subtle, only revealing itself in his I. I hesitated, stumbled slightly, and then shyly introduced myself as Margot's roommate-to-be.
This is Andy. Margot's brother. Andy went on to say that he went to Vanderbilt, but that his best friend from home was going to be a senior at Wake Forest, and he and his buddies would be sure to show us the ropes, share their insight about professors and sororities, keep us out of trouble, and "all that good stuff. And then, "So Margot's going to be excited to hear from you. I know she wanted to discuss bedspreads or curtains or something.
I sure hope you like the color pink. I love pink. Aw-right," Andy said. As it turned out, I was right about both Andy and Margot. He was nice, and she was just about everything I wasn't. For starters we were physical opposites. She was a petite yet still curvy, fairskinned, blue-eyed blonde. I had dark hair and hazel eyes, skin that looked tanned even in the dead of winter, and a tall, athletic frame.
We were equally attractive, but Margot had a soft, whimsical look about her while my features were more easily described as handsome.
Our backgrounds, too, couldn't be more different. Margot lived in a huge, beautiful home on several acres of gorgeous, tree-lined property in the wealthiest part of Atlanta—an estate by any measure.
I grew up in a small ranch with Brady Bunch—orange kitchen counters in a blue-collar part of Pittsburgh. Margot's father was a prominent attorney who also served on the board of several companies. My dad was a salesman—selling unglamorous goods like those projectors for mind-numbingly boring filmstrips that lazy teachers made you watch in elementary school.
Margot's mother was a former beauty queen from Charleston, with a Babe Paley—esque fashion sensibility and fine, elegant bones. Mine had been a no-nonsense junior-high pre-algebra teacher before she died of lung cancer, even though she had never smoked, the day before my thirteenth birthday. Margot had two older brothers, both of whom adored her. Her family was the Southern WASP equivalent of the Kennedys, playing touch football on the beach at Sea Island, taking ski trips every winter, and spending occasional Christmases in Europe.
My sister and I spent our vacations at the Jersey Shore with our grandparents. We didn't own passports, had never been out of the country, and had only been on an airplane once. Margot was a cheerleader and former debutante, brimming with the brand of confidence that belongs to wealthy, well-traveled WASPs.
I was reserved, slightly neurotic, and despite my strong desire to belong, far more comfortable on the sidelines of things. Yet despite our differences, we became best friends. And then, years later, in what would make a perfect documentary-style couch story, I fell in love with her brother.
The one I just knew would be as cute as he was nice. But a lot of things had to happen before I married Andy and after that letter from Margot arrived in the mail. A lot of things. And one of them was Leo. The one I would love before I loved Andy.
The one I would grow to hate, but still love, long after we broke up. The one I would finally, finally get over.
Love the One You're With
Then see again, years later, in a New York City crosswalk. I inhale sharply as I consider my answer. For one beat I think he means the question in a philosophical sense—Where are you in life? My friends and family.
My career as a photographer. What a good, contented place I'm in. Answers that, until recently, I scripted in the shower and on the subway, hoping for this very opportunity.
Love the One You're With: A Novel
The chance to tell him that I had survived and gone on to much greater happiness. But as I start to say some of this, I realize what Leo is actually asking me.
He means literally where am I sitting or standing or walking? In what little corner of New York am I digesting and pondering what just transpired? The question rattles me in the same way you feel rattled when someone asks you how much you weigh or how much money you make or any other personal, probing question you'd strongly prefer not to answer.
But, in refusing to answer it outright, you're afraid you'll look defensive or rude. Later, of course, you replay the exchange and think of the perfect, politely evasive response. Only my scale knows the truth. Never enough money, I'm afraid. Or in this instance: Out and about.
But, there in the moment, I always clumsily blurt out the answer. My true weight. My salary down to the dollar. Or, in this case, the name of the diner where I am having coffee on a cold, rainy day. Oh well, I think, once it's off my tongue. After all, it is probably better to be straightforward. Being evasive could translate as an attempt to be flirtatious or coy: Guess where I am. Come find me, why don't you.
Still, Leo answers quickly, knowingly. Or, worse, as if I were just that predictable. Then he asks if I'm alone. None of your business, I want to say, but instead my mouth opens and I serve up a plain, simple, inviting yes. Like a single red checker sidling up to double-decker black ones, just waiting to be jumped. Sure enough, Leo says, "Good.
I'm coming over. Don't move. I flip my phone shut and panic. My first instinct is to simply get up and walk out. But I command myself not to be a coward. I can handle seeing him again. I am a mature, stable, happily wed woman. So what is the big deal about seeing an ex-boyfriend, having a little polite conversation? Besides, if I were to flee, wouldn't I be playing a game that I have no business playing? A game that was lost a long time ago? So instead I set about eating my bagel.
It is tasteless—only texture—but I keep chewing and swallowing, remembering to sip my coffee along the way. I do not allow myself another glance in the mirror. I will not apply a fresh coat of lip gloss or even check my teeth for food. Let there be a poppy seed wedged between my front teeth. I have nothing to prove to him. And nothing to prove to myself.
That is my last thought before I see his face through the rain-streaked door of the diner. My heart starts pounding again and my leg bounces up and down. I think how nice it would be to have one of Andy's beta blockers—harmless pills he takes before court appearances to keep his mouth from getting dry, his voice from shaking.
He insists that he's not really nervous, but that somehow his physical symptoms indicate otherwise. I tell myself that I am not nervous either. My body is simply betraying my head and heart. It happens. I watch Leo give his umbrella a quick shake as he glances around the diner, past Annie who is mopping the floor underneath a booth.
He doesn't see me at first, and for some reason, this gives me a vague sense of power. But that is gone in an instant when his eyes find mine. He gives me a small, quick smile, then lowers his head and strides toward me. Seconds later, he is standing beside my table, shedding his black leather coat that I remember well.
My stomach rises, falls, rises. I am fearful that he will bend down and kiss my cheek.
But no, that is not his style. Andy kisses my cheek. Leo never did. True to his old form, he skips niceties and slides into the booth across from me, shaking his head, once, twice. He looks exactly as I remember, but a little older, and somehow bolder and more vivid—his hair darker, his build bulkier, his jaw stronger. A stark contrast to Andy's fine features, long limbs, light coloring. Andy is easier on the eyes, I think. Andy is easier period. The same way a walk on the beach is easy.
A Sunday nap. A round peg in a round hole. I couldn't have scripted a better opening line. I embrace it, staring back into his brown eyes, banded by black rims. Leo furrows his brow, as if trying to place my new last name, which he should have been able to instantly trace to Margot, my roommate when we were together. But he can't seem to make the connection. This should not surprise me.
Leo never cared to learn much about my friends—and never cared for Margot at all. The feeling was mutual.
After my first big fight with Leo, one that reduced me to a sniveling, Girl, Interrupted—worthy mess, Margot took the only pictures I had of him at the time, a strip of black-and-white candids from a photo booth, and ripped them in a neat line, straight down a row of his foreheads, noses, lips, leaving my grinning faces unscathed.
I saved the cork, wrapping the strip of photos around it with a rubber band and stowing it in my jewelry box— until Margot discovered it years later when returning a pair of gold hoop earrings she had borrowed from me. And these pictures? Margot raised her brows, but dropped the subject, the way she dropped most controversial things.
It seemed to be the Southern way. Or at least Margot's way. In any event, I have just stated my married name to Leo.
A not-so-small triumph. Leo raises his chin, pushes out his lower lip, and says, "Oh? The opposite of love is indifference, I silently recite.
Who's the lucky guy? I think you met him? At the time, it was only a brief, meaningless encounter between my boyfriend and my best friend's brother. An exchange of How ya doin? Nice to meet you, man. Maybe a handshake. Standard guy stuff. But years later, after Leo and I had long broken up, and Andy and I had begun to date, I would deconstruct that moment in exhausting detail, as any woman would.
A flicker of recognition crosses Leo's face now. The law student? Had he gleaned something from their brief meeting? Is he simply expressing his disdain for lawyers? Had I, at any point, discussed Andy in a way to give him ammunition now?
That was impossible. There was—and is—nothing negative or controversial to say about Andy. Andy has no enemies. Everyone loves him. I look back into Leo's eyes, telling myself not to get defensive—or react at all. Leo's opinion no longer matters.
Instead I nod placidly, confidently.
Margot's brother," I repeat. That worked out perfectly," Leo says with what I am pretty sure is sarcasm. Now I am sure of his tone, and I feel myself tense, a familiar rage rising. A brand of rage that only Leo has ever inspired in me.
I look down at my wallet with every intention of dropping a few bills on the table, standing and stalking off. But then I hear my name as a featherweight question and feel his hand covering mine, swallowing it whole.
I had forgotten how large his hands were. How hot they always were, even in the dead of winter.
I fight to move my hand away from his, but can't. At least he has my right one, I think. My left hand is clenched under the table, still safe. I rub my wedding band with my thumb and catch my breath. I look at him, shocked, speechless. He misses me? It can't be the truth—but then again, Leo isn't about lies.
He's about the cold, hard truth. Like it or leave it. He continues, "I'm sorry, Ellen. There is the sorry imbued with regret. And a pure sorry. The kind that is merely asking for forgiveness, nothing more.
I uncurl my left fingers and look down at my ring. There is a huge lump in my throat, and my voice comes out in a whisper. And I mean it.
It is water under the bridge. Everything is great. Exactly as it should be. My heart twists in knots. Think we could do that? Yet I watch myself shrug coolly and hear myself murmur, "Why not?
It is an odd and unsettling mix of emotions exacerbated by the rain, now coming down in icy, diagonal sheets. I briefly consider taking the long walk home, almost wishing to be cold and wet and miserable, but I think better of it.
There is nothing to wallow in, no reason to be upset or even introspective.
So I head for the subway instead, striding along the slick sidewalks with purpose. Good, bad, and even a few mundane memories of Leo swirl around in my head, but I refuse to settle on any of them. Ancient history, I mutter aloud as I take the stairs underground at Union Station. Down on the platform, I sidestep puddles and cast about for distractions.
I download a pack of Butterscotch Life Savers at a newsstand, skim the tabloid headlines, eavesdrop on a contentious conversation about politics, and watch a rat scurry along the tracks below. Anything to avoid rewinding and replaying my exchange with Leo. If the floodgates open, I will obsessively analyze all that was said, as well as the stubborn subtext that was always so much a part of our time together. What did he mean by that?
Why didn't he say this? Does he still have feelings for me? Is he married now, too? If so, why didn't he say so? I tell myself that none of it matters now. It hasn't mattered for a long time. My train finally pulls into the station. It is rush hour so all the cars are packed, standing room only. I crush my way into one, beside a mother and her elementary-age daughter. At least I think it is her daughter—they have the same pointy nose and chin.
The little girl is wearing a doublebreasted navy coat with gold anchor buttons. They are discussing what to have for supper. I wait for a "We just had that last night" sort of parental objection, but the mother only smiles and says, "Well, that sounds perfect for a rainy day. I think of my own mother as I do several times a day, often triggered by far less obvious stimuli than the mother-daughter pair beside me.
My mind drifts to a recurrent motif—what would our adult relationship have felt like? Would I distrust her opinion when it came to matters of the heart, intentionally rebelling against what she wanted for me? Or would we have been as close as Margot and her mother, talking several times a day?
I like to think that we would have been confidantes. Perhaps not sharing-clothing-and-shoes, giggly close my mother was too nononsense for that , but emotionally connected enough to tell her about Leo and the diner. His hand on mine. The way I feel now.
I cobble together the things she might have said, reassuring tidbits like: I'm so glad you found Andy. He is like the son I never had. I never cared much for that other boy. All too predictable, I think, digging deep for more.
I close my eyes, picturing her before she got sick, something I haven't done lately. I can see her almond-shaped hazel eyes, similar to mine, but turning down slightly at the corners—bedroom eyes, my father always called them.
I picture her broad, smooth forehead. Her thick, glossy hair, always cut in the same simple bob that transcended trends or era, just long enough to pull back in a squat ponytail when she did housework or gardening.
The slight gap between her front teeth and the way she unconsciously covered it with her hand when she laughed really hard. Then I conjure her stern but fair gaze—befitting a math teacher at a rough public school—and hear these words uttered in her heavy Pittsburgh dialect: Listen here, Ellie.
Don't go giving this encounter any crazy meaning like you did with him the first time around. It doesn't mean a thing. Not a thing. Sometimes, in life, there is no meaning at all. I want to listen to my mother now. I want to believe that she is giving me guidance from some faraway place, but I still feel myself caving, succumbing to the memory of that first chance encounter at the New York State Supreme Court on Centre Street when Leo and I were both summoned to jury duty on the same Tuesday in October.
Prisoners trapped together in a windowless room with bad acoustics, metal folding chairs, and at least one fellow citizen who had forgotten to apply deodorant.
It was all so random, and as I foolishly believed for a long time, romantic because of the randomness. I was only twenty-three years old, but felt much older due to the vague fear and disillusionment that comes with leaving the safety net of college and abruptly joining the real-world ranks, particularly when you have no focus or plan, money or mother.
Margot and I had just moved to New York the summer before, right after we graduated, and she landed a plum marketing position at J. Crew's corporate office. I had an offer for an entry-level position at Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, so had planned on moving back home to live with my father and his new wife, Sharon, a sweet-natured but slightly tacky woman with big boobs and frosted hair. But Margot convinced me to go to New York with her instead, giving me rousing speeches about the Big Apple and how if I could make it there, I'd make it anywhere.
I reluctantly agreed because I couldn't stand the thought of separating from Margot any more than I could stand the thought of watching another woman take over my house—my mother's house. So Margot's father hired movers to pack up our dorm room, bought us one-way tickets to New York, and helped us settle into an adorable two-bedroom apartment on Columbus and Seventyninth, she with a brand-new corporate wardrobe and crocodile briefcase; me with my useless philosophy major and stash of T-shirts and cutoff jean shorts.
But Margot's trust fund, set up by her maternal grandparents, had just kicked in, and she assured me that what was hers was mine because, after all, weren't we more like sisters than friends? Money was something that Margot not only didn't have to think about but didn't want to think about or discuss. So I learned to swallow my pride and ignore my prickly hot neck every time I'd have to borrow from her.
I told myself that guilt was a wasted emotion, and that I'd make it up to her one day—if not monetarily, then somehow. The more boring the description, the more legitimate the career seemed because at the time I equated adulthood with a certain measure of hosiery-wearing misery.
I got a lot of callbacks, but must have been an abysmal interview, because I always came up empty-handed. The hours were long—I often worked the late-night shift—and my feet hurt all the time, but it wasn't all bad. I made surprisingly good money people tip better late at night , met some cool people, and learned everything I ever wanted to know about charcuterie and cheese plates, port and pigs feet.
In the meantime, I took up photography. It started as a hobby, a way to fill my days and get to know the city. I wandered around various neighborhoods—the East Village, Alphabet City, SoHo, Chinatown, Tribeca—as I snapped photos with a millimeter camera my father and Sharon had given me for graduation. But very quickly, taking photos became something more to me. It became something that I not only loved doing, but actually needed to do, much the way authors talk about their urge to get words down on paper or avid runners just have to go for their morning jog.
Photography exhilarated me and filled me with purpose even when I was, literally, at my most aimless and lonesome. I was starting to miss my mother more than I ever had in college, and for the first time in my life, really craved a romantic relationship.
Except for a wild, borderline-stalker crush I had on Matt Iannotti in the tenth grade, I had never been particularly focused on boys. I had dated a few guys here and there, and had sex with two college boyfriends, one serious, one not so much, but had never been anywhere close to being in love.
Nor had I ever uttered—or written—those words to anyone outside of my family and Margot when we both had a lot to drink. Which was all okay with me until that first year in New York.
I wasn't sure what had changed inside my head, but perhaps it was being a real grown-up—and being surrounded by millions of people, Margot included, who all seemed to have definite dreams and someone to love.
So I concentrated all my energy on photography. I spent every spare cent on film and every spare moment taking pictures or poring over books in the library and bookstores. I devoured both reference guides to technique and collections by great photographers. My favorite—which Margot bought me for my twenty-third birthday—was The Americans by Robert Frank, which comprised a series of photos he took in the s while traveling across the country.
I was mesmerized by his black-and-white images, each a complete story unto itself. I felt as if I knew the stocky man bent over a jukebox, the elegant woman gazing over her shoulder in an elevator, and the dark-skinned nanny cradling a creamy white baby. I decided that this sense of truly believing you knew a subject, more than anything else, was the mark of a great photograph. If I could take pictures like that, I thought, I would be fulfilled, even without a boyfriend.
Looking back it was perfectly clear what I should do next, but it took Margot to point out the obvious—one of the many things friends are for.
She had just returned home from a business trip to Los Angeles, rolling in her suitcase and pausing at the kitchen table to pick up one of my freshly developed photographs.
It was a color photo of a distraught teenaged girl sitting on a curb on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, the contents of her purse spilled onto the street around her. She had long, curly red hair and was beautiful in that adolescent, no-makeup way that I didn't fully recognize at the time because I was so young, too. The girl was reaching out to retrieve a cracked mirror with one hand, the other was barely touching her forehead.
It was an amazing picture. I shrugged, telling her I seldom talked to the people I photographed. Only if they caught me taking their picture and talked to me first. Or maybe her mother just died.
Margot kept studying the picture, commenting that the girl's bright red knee socks gave the photo an almost vintage feel. Whether you like it or not. It was a haphazardly cool technique I had tried to emulate a hundred times, but could never make look right. When it came to hair or fashion or makeup, everything I copied from Margot fell somehow short.
She nodded once more and said, "You should pursue photography professionally. Oddly enough, it was something I had never considered, although I'm not sure why. Perhaps I was worried that my enthusiasm would exceed my ability. I couldn't bear the thought of failing at something I cared so much about. But Margot's opinion meant a lot to me.
And as insincere as she sometimes was with her Southern pleasantries and compliments, she was never that way with me. She always gave it to me straight—the sign of a real friendship. Do this thing for real. I applied for every assistant's position I could find—including a few for cheesy wedding photographers on Long Island.
But without any formal training, I was once again turned down by everyone and ended up taking a minimum-wage position as a film processor in a small, boutique-y photo lab with ancient equipment. I had to start somewhere, I told myself, as I took the bus to dreary lower Second Avenue on my first day and unpacked my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in a drafty back room that smelled of cigarettes and bleach.
But, as it turned out, it was the ideal first job thanks to Quynh, the Vietnamese girl who was married to the owner's son. Quynh spoke little English, but was a pure genius with color and taught me more about custom printing than I could have learned in any class and more than I eventually did learn when I finally went to photography school.
Every day I watched Quynh's thin, nimble fingers feed the film and twist the knobs on the machines, adding a little more yellow, a little less blue to yield the most perfect prints, while I fell more in love with my fledgling chosen profession.
So that's where I was when I got that infamous jury summons. Although still quite poor, I was fulfilled, happy, and hopeful, and none too anxious to put my work and pay on hold for jury duty.
Margot suggested that I ask Andy, who had just started his third year of law school at Columbia, for his advice on how to get excused. So I gave him a call, and he assured me it would be a cinch. Just imply that you hate lawyers, don't trust cops, or resent the wealthy. Whatever it seems they're looking for. Skip to content. Home About Deirdre. Next work up: Heart of the Matte r last Giffin book.
Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Leave a comment Filed under Uncategorized. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public. Name required. Search for: Create a free website or blog at WordPress.Andy tells me to tell her that he loves her.
I have to admit that I do like some "chick-lit" and that I have read all of Emily Giffin's books. The plot was predictable, and the characters weren't particularly memorable. I reassure myself that this is perfectly normal for married couples—even happily married couples. He said so tenderly, almost lovingly, which made me feel worse than an angry response would have. On the rare nights we were apart, I sometimes went out with Margot and our group of friends, but I preferred staying in, where I would daydream about Leo or plan our next adventure together or compile cassette mixes of songs that seemed cool enough, smart enough, soulful enough for my cool, smart, soulful boyfriend.
I briefly consider taking the long walk home, almost wishing to be cold and wet and miserable, but I think better of it. Oh well, I think, once it's off my tongue. If so, why didn't he say so? As Giffin's story takes readers back and forth between Ellen's frustrating memories of Leo and her storybook life with Andy, each detail highlights the severe contrasts of her past and present.