The Rest of Us by Jessica Lott

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date:  July 2nd, 2013
Categories: Literary, Contemporary Women
As a college student, Terry fell madly and destructively in love with Rhinehart, her famous poetry professor, tumbling into a relationship from which she never fully recovered. Now, fifteen years later, she’s single, still living in the same walk-up she moved into after college, and languishing as a photographer’s assistant, having long abandoned her own art. But when she stumbles upon Rhinehart’s obituary online, she finds herself taking stock of the ways her life has not lived up to her youthful expectations and grows disproportionately distraught at the thought that she’ll never see him again.

She is shocked when a few weeks later she bumps into Rhinehart himself: very much alive, married, and Christmas shopping at Bloomingdale’s. What ensues is an intense and beautiful friendship, an unexpected second act that pushes Terry to finally reckon with the consequences of their past and the depth of her own aspirations—and to begin to come back alive as an artist and a woman. 

My Thoughts:
The Rest of Us is described as a novel about second chances. While that is certainly true, I found that it’s even more about relationships. The people in our lives have an impact on us that we can hardly begin to imagine.

Terry and Rhinehart almost need each other to create their art. Between their early affair and their second chance relationship they both seem to be stagnant. Artistically yes, but in even larger ways. When they being seeing each other for the second time they both begin to flourish.

At first I didn’t sense a great passion between these two characters. The further I read the more the closeness and love became apparent. There is a push and a pull between them that reads as very convincing. Their relationship is complicated. The best kinds usually are.

My favorite relationship in The Rest of Us is between Terry and her best friend Hallie. Their history is rich, complex, and believable.

Poetry and photography take central stage in this book. I’m not an aficionado of either of those art forms but this book made them accessible.

Beautifully written with raw sensibility, The Rest of Us has a rhythm all its own.

25 thoughts on “The Rest of Us by Jessica Lott

  1. It sounds like you and I have been reading similar books! I think you could read this one in tandem with Sight Reading to look at the relationships of artists.


  2. Sight Reading is definitely a book I'm interested in. When I read a book about any kind of art I need it to be accessible to me as a non-artist. When I recently read A Complicated Marriage (about an art critic and his wife) it felt over my head. I don't know how to put my finger on the differences between these books but I GOT this one.


  3. This sounds like a book I'd really like. I've read several that examine a relationship with a student and some sort of artistic professor, but I like that they have this second chance opportunity for friendship in this novel. Good stuff.


  4. What a beautiful review! While it sounds lie an interesting read, I'm not sure if it'll be my cup of tea. Maybe one day when I've gone through all the other books on my shelves.


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