Book Review: First You Try Everything by Jane McCafferty

First You Try Everything by Jane McCafferty

Genre: contemporary fiction
I got this book: ARC for review from the publishers, Harper
First Published: 2012 (January 17th)
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 304
Rating: 4/5


First You Try Everything: What it is About

Evvie and Ben are a middle aged couple that have drifted apart. They don’t have children and live quite separate lives. Separate enough for Ben to start an affair with Lauren, a single mother.

Not much later, he moves out and Evvie is left on her own. She doesn’t know Ben has found someone else and expects them to get back together again. She phones and visits him much more often than he is happy with.

She is desperate get back together and eventually, she finds a drastic way to get Ben back again.

The book is told form the perspectives of Evvie and Ben, and, in one chapter, from a secondary character’s view.

First You Try Everything: What I thought

4 stars (out of 5) This book was both interesting and depressing. It took me a long time to start caring a little for Evvie. She’s strange, even before she falls apart. She was rather childish and dependent and I couldn’t connect with her at all.

Ben was a more reasonable character that I could understand. I think he could have tried a bit harder to stay with Evvie, but as she was acting rather odd, it was no surprise that he left her. He still cared for her (and probably felt guilty) and was patient with her when she phoned or came by his work or new home.

Evvie’s solution to get Ben back was very original but clearly something you’d only find in a book. Ben’s reaction, again, was very natural and reasonable, I thought.

I liked the ending, when Evvie developed an unlikely friendship.

Not for the newly-divorced, this book gives insight in the breakdown of a marriage and the consequent breakdown of one of the ex-partners. A well-written emotional roller coaster.


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

8 Responses to Book Review: First You Try Everything by Jane McCafferty

  1. Hmmm, not sure whether I will like this one )I do have a copy). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Tes says:

    Nice review, Judith. I don’t think I will enjoy the depressing story though. But it’s good to read about what you think 🙂

  3. I read a review of this book before and it wasn’t as favorable as yours. So I didn’t think about again. But you gave a different perspective of their relationship. Evvie doesn’t sound as irritating as I read she was. Thanks for sharing.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Lena, I didn’t like Evvie much, but that was her character and really determined what happened in the book. She fitted her role very well, but I just didn’t like her! 🙂

  4. Aths says:

    I’ll be reading this book next month and am glad that you liked it somewhat. Evvie does sound like a character I won’t like either, but the premise of the book sounds interesting, so maybe I’ll manage to stay with the book.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Having just gotten married, this might not be the time for you to read the book, Aths. But seriously, I do think it’s worth reading, even if Evvie is *not nice at all*.

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