You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle is the quirky story of Naomi and Nicholas, a pair of engaged folks who are absolutely miserable in their relationship. Naomi admittedly became a shell of herself as she let Nicholas and his family tamp her down to try and become the image of who she should be in order to deserve the title of Nicholas’s wife. I’m talking overbearing mother interfering in the relationship where she’s planning the wedding she wants, without bothering to consider any of Naomi’s choices. While the story is told from Naomi’s POV, we quickly learn that both she and Nicolas are miserable and while their wedding is only a few months away, Naomi realizes that both of them want to call it quits but neither wants to take the lead.
Naomi begins plotting because she’s fed up with how her and Nicholas’s romantic relationship has devolved into this beyond passive aggressive relationship. Under the impression that one of them will have to buckle down first and call off the engagement, she begins exacting petty revenge onto Nicholas – to which he retaliates back. It becomes a battle of the wits, which admittedly is very entertaining to read though the behavior of two grown adults is childish. Naomi thinks that due to what her relationship with Nicholas has become, that she’s fallen out of love with him and wants out but is trying to push him over the edge to have him break things off.
A few chapters into the book, Nicholas surprises Naomi by buying a house in the woods. Naomi is initially upset because he did this without considering her opinion – especially since they’re engaged and were already living together. As much as Naomi wants to hate the house, she secretly loves it, though she does not let it show and continues on her petty revenge plans. At this point, they’re either going to somehow fall back in love and resolve their issues, or kill each other trying.
Common Themes + Opinions:
A very blatant theme running through this story is Nicholas’s overbearing mother and her impact on both of them. Nicholas is the prodigal son, to the point where his mom Deborah calls him daily, he goes over to have dinner regularly, and regularly brings her flowers “just because.” On the surface, Nicholas is a devoted son. As you read through the story, we realize that he’s overburdened with his mother and her expectations on him. As for Naomi, Deborah consistently puts her down, in front of Nicholas, because no one is good enough for her son. Deborah takes on the task of planning their wedding HER way, without taking any of Naomi’s opinions into consideration. This is a big block in Naomi and Nicholas’s relationship, as you can imagine, because Nicholas is too afraid to stand up to his mom. Deborah’s consistent wear down of Naomi becomes one of the breaking points in Naomi’s war against Nicholas.
With that, we learn that Naomi isn’t all that mentally strong. Aside from the verbal abuse she receives from Deborah on a regular basis, and snide comments from Nicholas in the beginning of the story, she’s also struggling with feelings of inadequacy. She didn’t go to college and works a dead end minimum wage job, so she assumes that Nicholas and his family view her differently, as if she’s beneath them, because of it. And while it may be true, at least from Deborah’s point of view, it’s contributing to how she feels about herself and what she predicts Nicholas actually thinks of her.
The obvious theme overall of Nicholas and Naomi’s story is their lack of communication. In Naomi bottling up her feelings of inadequacy, and Nicholas not admitting how much his mother’s behavior wears him down, they miss an opportunity to create intimacy together and improve their communication skills to save their relationship.
Final Thoughts + Ratings:
Overall, You Deserve Each Other is one of the few books I thoroughly enjoyed. Naomi essentially goes feral in her petty revenge plans against Nicholas, and it is hilarious to read. Again, it’s childish in the grand scheme of things as its two hurt people hurting each other. With that said, I give You Deserve Each Other five stars as I enjoyed Naomi and Nicholas’s antics, and their eventual return to each other. Comparatively, Naomi and Nicholas’s story is equivalent to a sour patch kid: first it’s sour, then it’s sweet. As for spice, there is obvious tension between the both of them but there aren’t a lot of sexy scenes or all that descriptive either, which was fine by me!
Have you read You Deserve Each Other? Let me know in the comments!