In the latest novel by accomplished author Jean Hanff Korelitz (Admission, A Jury of Her Peers), which shares the title of its main character’s book, relationship challenges raise questions of how often we really know what’s best, whether living the life we’ve envisioned necessarily means we’re living it right, and how we overlook our instinctive responses to the people we meet.
Grace Reinhart Sachs’ cynicism toward the wedding industry understandably follows from her work as a couples’ therapist. If there were more emphasis on marriage and less on the wedding, she postulates, 50 percent of couples wouldn’t get married at all—likely the ones who shouldn’t have been together to begin with.
That philosophy is reflected in her self-help book, You Should Have Known, in which she argues that many women would have long ago ended their relationships, had they only followed their instincts. Grace is juggling her private practice and her son’s New York City private school demands while amping up for the book’s release. The fielding press inquiries from Vogue, Cosmopolitan, “The Today Show” and “The View.”
Then her life takes an unthinkable turn: Her own picture-perfect marriage is called into question. Although she cautions her patients and readers against love at first sight, that was her experience with her pediatric oncologist husband, whom she met during her senior year of college. Grace goes into a tailspin, questioning the man she’s known for more than a dozen years, as well as the relationship that defines all her interactions and her very worth as a counselor.
You Should Have Known is an insightful, compelling tale sure to provoke reflection.