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Emily and Einstein
by Linda Francis Lee

Published: 2011-03-01
Hardcover : 368 pages
54 members reading this now
19 clubs reading this now
14 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 13 of 14 members
He was a man who didn't deserve a second chance...but he needed one.Emily and her husband, Sandy Portman, seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building. But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic ...
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Introduction

He was a man who didn't deserve a second chance...but he needed one.Emily and her husband, Sandy Portman, seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building. But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident. The funeral isn't even over before Emily learns she is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment. But worse than the possibility of losing her home, Emily is stunned when she discovers that her marriage was made up of lies. Suddenly Emily is forced on a journey to find out who her husband really was...all the while feeling that somehow he isn't really gone. And what if he isn't? Angry, hurt, and sometimes betrayed by loving memories of the man she lost, Emily finds comfort in a scruffy dog named Einstein. But is Einstein's seemingly odd determination that she save herself enough to make Emily confront her own past? Can he help her find a future—even after she meets a new man?

Editorial Review

Product Description

He was a man who didnâ??t deserve a second chance. But he needed oneâ?¦

Emily and her husband Sandy Portman seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building.  But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident.  The funeral isn't even over before Emily learns she is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment.  But worse than the possibility of losing her home, Emily is stunned when she discovers that her marriage was made up of lies. 

Suddenly Emily is forced on a journey to find out who her husband really was . . . all the while feeling that somehow he isn't really gone.  Angry, hurt, and sometimes betrayed by loving memories of the man she lost, Emily finds comfort in a scruffy dog named Einstein.  But is Einstein's seemingly odd determination that she save herself enough to make Emily confront her own past?  Can he help her find a futureâ??even after she meets a new man? 





Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Linda Francis Lee

Q: What made you write a book about an unfaithful husband?

A: My primary goal wasn't to write about an unfaithful husband, it was to write about a man who lived a lie--and he didn't just live a lie to the world, he lied to himself. I wanted to tell a story about someone who found it easier to blame others for what was wrong in his life rather than take responsibility and attempt to help make it right. No life is perfect, but frequently it's easier to blame others or external circumstances than take responsibility.

Q: Why did you decide to write a book with a dog as the main character? Are you yourself a "dog person"?

A: At the time I was plotting the book, I had been thinking a lot about our dog Sophie who had passed away several years ago. For so long just thinking about her broke my heart. But a shift had started to happen and the memories started making me smile or even laugh. Sophie had so much personality. If she was mad at me, she ignored me. If I was sad about something, she leaned up against me until I felt better. I know it sounds crazy, but she felt like a little person, a sometimes crotchety person! So with all this thinking about Sophie, one day when I came through a tunnel in Central Park and saw the statue of Balto the dog, the pieces came together. A dog has to be a character in this book, and not just any dog, a wonderful but crotchety dog...and Einstein came fully to life!

Q: At certain points throughout the story, Einstein's animal instincts kick in, both confusing and inconveniencing Sandy. Was there a reason to keep this animal influence involved in Sandy's transformation?

A: I had become obsessed with Cesar Millan's THE DOG WHISPERER and to paraphrase Cesar, The problem is with the humans, not with the dogs. In watching the show I was always amazed at how owners learn to be better humans by learning how to deal with their dogs. As a result, between my memories of Sophie, and seeing Balto, then add in Cesar, I realized it had to be through Einstein the dog's instincts that Sandy Portman learns how to be a true man.

Q: Throughout the book the theme of "second chances" comes up again and again. What do second chances mean to you? Why did you want to explore this idea?

A: I think most of us have moments in our lives that we would like to do over. While we can't get an actual "do over", I love the idea that we can get another chance to make things right, or find another chance to achieve a dream. Second chances are all about having hope, and it's hope that gets us out of bed in the morning.

Q: As Emily turns her life around, she goes through several changes, from finding new love and beginning to exercise, to taking risks at work and attempting to discover more about her family and her own upbringing. Is there one aspect of her reawakening that you find to be the most important or groundbreaking?

A: I think everyone has a vision of who they want to be, or who they think they are. Generally the image we hold of ourselves is an appealing version. The fact is, who can afford to live with an unappealing vision of themselves. What I liked most about Emily was that she was willing to look at who she was, and when the truth started to unravel her, she held on, fought against falling apart, then moved forward in an attempt to be someone better. And through that (in addition to through Einstein) her husband sees an example of someone trying to be their best. It both helps him and makes him angry.

Q: Once Emily stops running from the things in life that scare her, what did this represent to the storyline as a whole?

A: I think any time we do something that is difficult--something that we think we can't do--it strengthens us. It gives us a foundation on which to reflect back when the next challenge hits. A sort of: Err, this new challenge is impossible! But I did accomplish the other thing, so maybe I can do this too. Growing up I was never particularly serious about anything. But when I turned twenty, I realized life was passing me by. I started doing anything I didn't think I could do. I focused on school. I took probability and statistic courses, geology courses. I mountain climbed, I repelled, I set out to run a marathon. I even started to write. All these years later, I still push myself to do things that are out of my comfort zone. And every morning I get up and I go into the park to run because making it to the top of Heartbreak Hill, or finishing a run when I am surrounded by snow, reminds me that I can get to the top of a hill and nothing but fear holds me back. Emily learns who she really is by pushing herself beyond what she believes are her own limits.

Excerpt

Prologue


A week passed before I understood the enormity of my situation, a week before I realized I was dead.
It was February, a bitter cold day in New York with a gunmetal sky, the kind of storm blowing in that would make even the most stoic northeasterner dream of sun, sand, and a beach that stretched on forever. Wearing a heavy wool suit, silk tie, and overcoat, I walked into my office on the thirty-fourth floor, the view of lower Manhattan blocked out by the falling snow. My secretary was on the phone, her sharp Brooklyn accent and polyester clothes at odds with the old-world, fine wood surroundings of the reception area. She snapped at the caller, something about having to go through her to get to me—the very reason I employed the no-nonsense older woman who didn't take lip from anyone. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. Would a selfish man really want to help his wife?
2. If the husband wasn't willing to help his wife what would happen to him?
3. What would happen to her after she learns everything she knew about her husband was a lie?
4. Is it possible to change any man?
5. If so, how do you go about it?
6. Have you ever found out that someone is different than you believed?
7. If yes, did that change the way you viewed all your past experiences with that person?
8. Can you truly get a second chance with people, or at some level do people always hold on to the wrong?
9. Do you believe the adage that if you truly believe in something that the universe will help you achieve it?
10. Do you guard your heart against heartbreak, or do you go into any new relationship believing the person is good?
11. Do you expect life to be easy?
12. Do you want life to be easy?
13. Do you believe in fate, or do you believe you can affect your fate?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Note from author Linda Francis Lee:

When I began plotting EMILY AND EINSTEIN, I had started spending a lot of time running in Central Park and everywhere I turned in the park people have their dogs. Cute dogs, not so cute dogs, big dogs, little dogs, and I found myself thinking a lot about my dog Sophie who died when she was 13. There was something magical about Sophie and I felt a distinct desire to write a book that was deep and insightful at the same time it was funny and romantic, but mostly I wanted it to be magical. The only other idea I was toying with was the thought of a wife learning that the life she lead with her husband was a lie. But I couldn't figure out how the two went together. Then one day while I was walking through the park trying to bring these two pieces together, I stopped on one side of a tunnel, took some notes, then started walking again. When I came out the other side there was the statue of Balto the dog. It hit me that it wasn't just a desire to write a magical book, but in some way I wanted to write about a dog, one like Sophie who could be a joy and crabby and ignore me when she was mad. I know, it sounds crazy just typing it. But Sophie rarely felt like a dog to me. And with that, the two pieces finally came together: I needed the wife, Emily, to learn about the lie after her husband is dead and it is through a dog, Einstein, that the husband has the chance to help the wife he had betrayed in life. Originally I had entitled the book Einstein's Theory. But no one liked the title and then, like everything about this book, we realized the title was right in front of us. EMILY AND EINSTEIN.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Emily & Einsten"by clambert1 (see profile) 09/10/13

An easy read that was entertaining.

 
  "Great Read!"by tpurcell (see profile) 11/05/12

I loved the way Linda Francis Lee pulled the characters together. At the beginning, I was thinking that the book was too far fetched to enjoy. My advice: Keep reading.

 
  "Emily and Einstein - what a joy!"by nbaker (see profile) 10/26/11

Sometimes we just need to smile and laugh. This story certainly did both for me. Relationships are often hard to define and a woman's perspective can be totally different than a man's perspective of... (read more)

 
  "Emily and Einstein"by cao324 (see profile) 08/07/11

Very cute book!

 
  "Our group didn't know if we would want our husbands to come back"by brnoze (see profile) 07/31/11

Now we love them, and appreciate them, but really do we want to have to keep cleaning up after them FOREVER?
The book had its fun moments, sweet parts, but too many characters that didn't
... (read more)

 
  "Emily and Einstein"by dcokingtin (see profile) 07/06/11

The front cover hooked me. I have a Jack Russel Terrier. Einstein's actions were dead on in many JRT characteristics. When he tore up the donut box on the table I could picture my dog doin... (read more)

 
  "Entertaining"by mizbilli (see profile) 06/23/11

Actually quite thought provoking - a total waste of a man is given the chance to redeem himself by "temporarily" being reincarnated as a dog and validate not only his selfish life but do som... (read more)

 
  "We loved it!"by sesanders (see profile) 06/23/11

 
  "Emily and Einstein"by mkrupiak (see profile) 05/30/11

This was a fantastic book! I was hooked from the first page, finished it in two days! The book was funny, insightful, inspiring and tearful. I loved the characters, even Einstein, who not your typical... (read more)

 
  "It's all about how we can change ourselves"by Michel1119 (see profile) 05/24/11

I thought Sandy started out as a selfish, self-centered, shallow, spoiled brat. Emily's love frightened him and challenged him to become a better person, but not until he had an intervention from On High.... (read more)

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