LOS ANGELES - May 28, 2016 - PRLog -- Almost every adult can name and reminisce over "The one who got away." Maybe it was a blind date that could have been more, or perhaps that "ex" who ended it without any reason, or even it could be a high school crush you had and never was brave enough to ask to dance. For Timothy Anderson, Melody is his one who got away.
In One Love, author Thomas Duffy tells the story how Timothy finds Melody in a newspaper personal ad and the two young lovers decide to meet. Their first date is more beautiful than Timothy dared hope for, but although she promises him a second date, Melody stops responding to Timothy's calls. Even after Timothy has moved on and began a relationship with a new girlfriend, the elusive Melody plagued his memories. However in his case, Timothy finds and rediscovers Melody, his one who got away.
One Love follows the wild and wistful affair of Timothy and Melody as the two struggle to find security, peace and passion in their lives. For Melody, this meant rekindling her marriage with Timothy, but for Timothy the path isn't so clear. Timothy had grand aspirations, but instead he finds himself stuck in a dead-end job. Timothy lives a life of what he feels is undeveloped potential; wasting away working retail while he dreams of writing the next great American novel. He becomes a metaphor for every reader's unrealized ambitions. Timothy is a lonely character, often overwhelmed by life, and we respect him for it.
The best part about Timothy - what makes him so real - is the way his story slowly unfolded, naturally following within the course of the novel. His character developed in real time, before our eyes, in direct response to the decisions he made. Much time is spent on the affair of Timothy and Melody as the two lovers approach middle age, and make some difficult decisions. Exploring the story of Timothy and Melody, it's impossible to not place yourself in their shoes. They find themselves caught between love and responsibility - which is the most moral? Just as author Thomas Duffy promises, readers must examine their own souls to choose.
Melody, in particular, becomes more real as she struggles between her role as wife and mother, while comparing herself to the person she was before her marriage. Timothy is overburdened with his undeveloped potential, a characteristic which plays out throughout the novel. Melody reminds the reader that our parents all have their own lives to live as well as being there for their children.
Without giving away too much of the ending, what I like best is Timothy didn't need a partner to realize his ambition. All of the advice his elders give him about the need for marriage and children were only stepping stones in his quest to discover himself.
This book has a positive theme, in the conclusion of One Love we are reminded every ending is a new beginning. The end of the novel isn't the end of Timothy's story; rather it's the bridge into the next chapter of his life. It also reminds us that every mistake we make is a learning opportunity. The mistakes we all make, no matter how significant they may seem, don't ruin our entire lives. In the end, like Timothy, we only need to be brave enough to take the steps forward to put our lives back on track.
By Thomas Duffy
Although the hero is not easy to root for and the language is undeveloped, ONE LOVE is an easy read with plenty of drama
Ever wondered if we’re destined to fall in love with just one person in our life?
ONE LOVE, by Thomas Duffy, follows the story of Timothy Anderson, a down on his luck sad sack who rekindles a flame with his dream girl – after he’s already settled down with someone else. The consequences of this affair have long-lasting effects on both Timothy’s relationships and his own beliefs about soul mates. Timothy is left to figure out whether he should risk everything for the woman he thought was his true love or be committed to the woman he has resigned himself to create a life with.
Duffy’s writing style is not for everyone. His sentences are pedantic and plainly written, often giving the feeling that it was written for a much younger audience (it definitely was not – given the steamy love scenes). This style is good for those who want a quick read which doesn’t require them to think too hard. However, it’s difficult to get past the stilted, sometimes silly dialogue. Characters often react with shock by saying ‘wow’ a lot. There’s plenty of drama to be had in the storyline, so it’s a letdown that the characters don’t really have a way to express themselves regarding the action around them.
ONE LOVE also suffers from having an unlikable protagonist. Timothy has no goals (he wants to be a writer, but doesn’t really do anything to achieve it), doesn’t really mind being stuck at a dead-end job, and then ends up cheating on his long-time girlfriend. Duffy wants you to feel sorry for Timothy’s struggle between choosing his dream girl and his committed relationship. Instead, there’s more of a desire for him to just grow up and get his act together.
Although the hero is not easy to root for and the language is undeveloped, ONE LOVE is an easy read with plenty of drama.
An unexpected reunion with a lost love leads a man to re-evaluate his life and relationships in Duffy’s (Stockboy, 2013, etc.) third novel.
Timothy Anderson is a college student and aspiring novelist. Following graduation, he works at a movie theater, where he hopes to find a girlfriend. He answers a personal ad and goes on a perfect date with Melody. Timothy believes she’s his true love, but Melody abruptly disappears. Years pass, and Timothy meets Cindy. They move in together and struggle with money issues and family complications (Cindy’s dad is a compulsive gambler). Timothy never forgets about Melody though, and he finds her on Facebook. She’s married and has three young kids, but that doesn’t stop them from having an affair. As Timothy re-evaluates his choices and relationships, a series of events puts Cindy in danger and leads Melody to weigh her feelings for Timothy and her husband. Duffy’s protagonist is an earnest young man whose attempts at becoming a writer are waylaid by family troubles and making a living. Many readers may relate to Timothy’s succession of part-time or low-paying full-time jobs and his attempts to ascend the career ladder. Although they come from different backgrounds, Melody and Cindy are likable supporting characters whose family dilemmas mirror Timothy’s. The weakest element here is Timothy’s relationship with Melody. She appears only briefly at the beginning, and her character development is limited to their first and only date. Although the date ends well, there is little to suggest she shared Timothy’s passion. Their affair would have been more believable if she had a bigger role from the outset of the novel.
A finely observed character study flattened by an underwhelming romance.
Thomas Duffy’s book, One Love, is a tale of both love and heartache. Protagonist Tim is torn between a “what might have been” sort of love and another that is actually in front of him. Duffy doesn’t paint over the ugly parts of love, instead highlighting them. He exposes what love looks like in real life, not some fairy tale version that we were taught in the movies. Duffy doesn’t shy away from the flaws and complexities of his characters. His is a raw and honest account of entangled and intertwined relationships that examines what we sacrifice for love, and the love we may sacrifice for security.
A book has to really grab me from page one for me to read it quickly. I got through this one in two days, even with other things going on. I was pulled in. I was fascinated and wanted to see what happened from page to page. I went through a range of emotion with the characters. I wanted to hug Tim and slap him sometimes at the same time. The same went for Louie and Melody at times. I felt like I was peeking in on intimate details of lives I shouldn’t be seeing but wanted to see at the same time. Thomas Duffy pulled back the curtain on real life. He exposed what everyone tries to hide.
Readers will find themselves identifying with the characters. They are all flawed in some way or another, and that makes them more identifiable. Louie’s addiction, Tim’s stagnant career and failure to commit, Melody’s indecisiveness, Cindy’s crippling anxiety. Duffy covers the gamut of dysfunction. Chances are that each reader will see his or herself in at least one of the characters. I appreciated the realism and admittedly saw myself in a character or two. Everyone has a “what might have been” scenario or two. This book lets readers vicariously live one of those scenarios out.
I’m not a romance novel fan. I wouldn’t call this your average romance novel by any stretch. However, there are some sexual scenes in the book. They are not overpowering to the rest of the plot. They feel necessary and relevant to the story. You’ll find much more concentration on the feelings of the characters and their daily lives than sex, but it is there. -And, it is important to the story.
This one was a real page-turner for me. The writing was simple without being boring. There was no pretense. No stuffiness. I was completely interested in the lives of the characters from the first page until the last and found myself wanting to know more. The characters felt real. They were well-developed. I feel invested in their lives. I want to know what else happens.
The book is brilliantly written. It was a very easy read. The pace was perfect, and the plot flowed well. The characters felt real. I can’t say enough good things about this writer. I’d love to read more of his work.
by Thomas Duffy
reviewed by Anita Lock
"Life is always full of possibilities."
Timothy Anderson, an English major with high aspirations to be an author but riddled with low self esteem, also longs for a meaningful relationship. He's certain that when he meets Melody that she is the girl of his dreams. But Melody never contacts him after their first date, which leaves Timothy depressed. Over time he tries to move on with his life with a new gal, Cindy. Fifteen years later and still together with Cindy, Timothy can't get his mind off Melody, who is now married and has three children. After a bit of web browsing, Timothy contacts Melody via Facebook. Excited that they are talking again after all those years, Timothy has no idea what he's about to get himself into—let alone what his future will look like—once they reconnect.
In his third book, Thomas Duffy pens a story that reflects more of a gut-level memoir than a work of fiction. While indeed fictional, Duffy has created a small cast of unimpressive yet believable characters who are desperately trying to break free from the vicious relational or addictive codependent cycles that consume them. That said, Duffy's third person narrative at times reads like a biography—primarily about Timothy—since the situations are so commonplace. Yet amid the seemingly dismal atmosphere, the glue that keeps his latest novel together and consistently moving is Duffy's use of cause and effect to produce tension. And in that fine cause/effect balance, the character's choices— particularly that of Timothy's—become the deciding factors as to how life will ultimately unfold. Duffy then tightly interweaves that tension within brief chapters and alternating character scenes. While One Love is heart wrenching, it is surprisingly hopeful.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review