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The Atlas of Love by Laurie Frankel was the January/February pick for the SheKnows Book Club!

Reviewed by Alysia George

One person has the capability of changing the lives of so many others, in various and countless ways. In the case of The Atlas of Love, that one person happens to be an infant, unplanned and born into a decidedly non-traditional family.

When graduate student Jill Mattison finds herself pregnant, the baby’s father comes to the difficult realization that he is not ready to settle down into the constraints of parenthood. Jill’s two best friends and fellow grad students, Katie and Janey, agree to do everything they can to take the place of the absent father. The three friends move in together, creating a home and an unconventional family in which to raise Jill’s child. They plan everything, coordinating their classes and teaching schedules so that one of them is always available for childcare, delegating household chores, and enlisting other friends as back-up.

Reality rarely matches expectations, and so it is when baby Atlas is born. The utopian fantasy bubble is burst as real life takes over, with all of its mood swings, relationship game-changers, and unexpected curve balls. Like many new mothers, Jill realizes that motherhood is more all-encompassing than she had imagined. Dating, hectic schedules, sickness, death, and varying moral and religious backgrounds compile to create a mess that these friends are not sure they can reconcile.

Despite the problems that inevitably arise, The Atlas of Love is a touching story of family and friendship. This group of friends who care deeply about one another and make a conscious decision to become a family, in the process provide a sweet example of what true friendship really means. Setbacks occur, but they stick together, forgiving and moving on as only a family can. The descriptions of the literary world of the three main characters sometimes bogged down the story, but nonetheless, I found myself happily lost in the world of Jill, Janey, and Katie.

Rating: 4/5

Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.

Visit Laurie Frankel’s website to read the first chapter!

This book was provided free of any obligation by SheKnows Book Club. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.