They met in a hospital ER at the age of eight. In this moment out of time, they talked and kept each other company. Rachel Blum (she tells him it is pronounced “bloom” and not like “plum.”) She begins to tell her new friend Andy Landis the tale of Hansel and Gretel.
Even though Rachel is in for another problem with her heart, for which she has had numerous surgeries since birth, and Andy is in for just a broken arm, he seems the most pathetic and in need. She is used to hospitals and has had lots of parental hovering in her life. Andy’s mother has not even shown up…and won’t for several hours.
Then they are separated.
Over the years, they meet again and again, often in unlikely places. They do write to each other in between meetings. Their most notable connecting would be as teenagers when they are volunteering for Home Free, prepping the homes for the construction workers. Their relationship changes into something more…a romantic connection.
Rachel lives in Florida and Andy, in Philadelphia, but as they go off to college, she is in Virginia attending Beaumont and he is in Oregon. He is a track star, aiming for the Olympics.
Their get-togethers are not always good…misunderstandings and their very real differences assert themselves, leading to long periods of no contact.
What keeps pulling them together when they are so different? Her family’s comfortable circumstances and his single mom’s struggles accentuate the financial differences, and her love of reading and his obsession with running…well, what could they possibly find to share?
But they do keep going…and then something big separates them for years.
Who Do You Love is an engaging story that made me feel a lot of emotions. Luckily, there were plenty of funny moments, too, showing Weiner’s signature self-deprecating charms through the characters. Alternate chapters were narrated in first person by Rachel and third person from Andy. The passage of time is shown by dates on each chapter.
I loved the story once I got into it. The opening chapters, in the childhood years, were less interesting to me, but as the characters entered their teens and adulthood, I was there, rooting for each of them, even when they made typical relationship mistakes. Sometimes I cried along with them, hoping they would find their happiness. And I loved the paper clip heart that Andy made for Rachel in their early college years. It came to symbolize the uniqueness of their connection. An emotional journey, I give this one 4.5 stars.