Book Reviews

Review: The Intermission by Elyssa Friedland

When I saw The Intermission come up on First to Read, I read the synopsis and was instantly intrigued. Being recently married myself the entire premise hooked me and I guaranteed my copy.


Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn’t share it with anyone, not even the person who shares your bed? Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know–and how much should we want to know–about the people we love the most?

After six years of marriage, the unshakeable confidence Cass felt on her wedding day is decidedly gone. Jonathan, on the other hand, is still smitten with Cass. It’s true that the personality quirks he once found charming in his wife–her complexity, her high standards, her refusal to clean the dishes–are beginning to grate.

But for him, these are minor challenges in an otherwise healthy relationship. So it comes as a complete shock to Jonathan when Cass suddenly requests a marital ‘intermission’: a six-month separation during which they’ll figure out if the comfortable life they’ve built together is, in fact, the one they both want.

After Cass and Jonathan devise an absurd and jet lag-inducing plan to swap custody of their beloved dog every thirty days, they decide that (aside from their monthly canine exchange) the intermission will be a time for self-reflection–and not a time for talking. But, as the months pass, Cass and Jonathan begin to see that the very worst of their problems are rooted in just these kinds of calculated silences–and in a delicate web of blistering secrets they may never be ready to share


book review the intermission by elyssa friedland(Disclaimer: I received this free book from First to Read. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The different perspectives of Cass and Jonathan strike you from the very first page. Told in alternating perspectives, we are able to see it all unfold. When they experience the same situations, the dual perspective allows us to witness where there are flaws, cracks, and where the other person mistakes them as such. We uncover resentments, hypocrisy, and those little mistakes that pile up. Their fears and needs are plainly spoken on the page, like diary entries and windows into their minds.

You get in their head, between their sheets, nustled in the space between their fingers when they hold hands. The beauty of the way The Intermission unfolds is that we are back seat witnesses to all the ways the arguments, resentments and insecurities pile up. We are the bystanders to the unsaid unused excuses and apologies you never quite utter. Like water boiling, we see the moments building up, like water against a dam, the water steadily and dangerously creeping to the top. And this is the beauty of The Intermission.


It’s mostly character driven because we are able to identify with both of them. I couldn’t pick a favorite character or even one I thought was ‘right’. All these past issues and past problems come to the surface and you realize nothing is really as simple as it seems. The secrets and silence pour out and you’re not sure if this is a romance or a dissolution. Can Cass and Jonathan find their way back to each other? In the end, they’re just two people who made mistakes that landed them in their path to here. To like this book, you have to be willing to find out more, to delve deeper, and to become emotionally invested. Find out more about The Intermission on Goodreads.


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