In With or Without You, Stella and Simon have been together twenty years. Now forty-two, nurse Stella wants to buy their apartment, get married, and have a baby. Simon is still chasing his rock band dream even though his sole hit is called Dad Rock now. They both love each other but have different life goals.
When Simon and his band get the opportunity to tour with a young hitmaker, he rushes to pack for LA. But Stella doesn’t want to go. They argue, get drunk, take mystery pills, and Stella goes into a coma. Simon, in turn, feels guilty and doesn’t go to LA.
Eventually, Stella awakens. But she is a different person. She remembers who everyone is but doesn’t feel the same connection to them. She is also more creative. How will this change her relationships and her life? And how would it impact Simon?
I really enjoyed Simon and Stella’s story. It is refreshing seeing older people restarting their lives even if it takes a coma to nudge them toward it.
While the plot of With or Without You is compelling, the characters were my favorite part. Everyone will see themselves, their spouse and their friends within the complex and multi-faceted people who inhabit the book. By the end of the book, I was rooting for all of them to find the life they deserve.
Overall, this is a mesmerizing tale. After reading it, you will feel as if you are awaking from a dream, or a coma. With or Without You is that enchanting. 4.5 stars!
Thanks to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.