To Each Her Own Review

Title: To Each Her Own

Author: Molly Mirren

Available in eBook?: Yes

Genre: Contemporary M/F Romance

Final Verdict: Buy

My Take: The subject of devoteeism–people who have a sexual attraction to disability–isn’t tackled often in the media. Ruth Madison’s novel (W)hole, (second edition reviewed here) is in some ways a pioneer in the genre, and a couple films have also touched on the subject, but usually not so much from the perspective of the devotees themselves. To Each Her Own, for better or worse, makes devoteeism a central conflict, as it continually drives the two love birds, Jay and Erin, apart and together, apart and together, like metallic pendulum balls in those desktop “executive toys.”

The story is told in third person, giving us both Jay and Erin’s point of view, unlike (W)hole (the original) or my own novel, UnConventional, which limit themselves to the female protagonist’s perspective. This gives the reader immediate insight into both characters’ brains and motivations as they struggle through their attraction to one another, and wrestle with the topic of what it means to be (or be with) a devotee.

The story begins with Erin, who happens to overhear a very unflattering conversation between Jay and his boss (and friend), Luis, who happens to be a quadraplegic. Jay, who is a paraplegic himself, is disgusted by devotees, and since Luis had been dating Erin, includes her in his rant. He calls her a “bottom feeder” and “subhuman,” among other things. So, yeah, the two of them really get off to a great start.

Erin is so distraught by these words (she’s already felt unsure about her sexual attractions) that she attempts suicide by crashing her car. The result of this is a badly broken ankle which means she won’t be able to go on tour with her twin brother Zac’s band, as originally planned. So Erin wakes up, groggy from pain medications, to find out her brother has rented the house to none other than Jay! Despite Erin’s protestations, and partially because Jay is paying double what Zac had been asking, Jay stays. (Erin is ashamed to admit the reason she hates Jay.) What follows is an “enemies to lovers” story with numerous ups and downs along the way to the ultimate HEA.

“[Being a dev is] in my DNA. God made me, and he proclaimed, ‘Let it be written that Erin Marie Silver is destined to have her heart broken over and over forever.'”

“I don’t think God does shit like that.”

Anguish washed over her, making her eyes sting and her throat constrict. She swallowed hard to keep the waterworks at bay. “Yes, he does, or he wouldn’t have made me a dev.”

I’ll preface this review by saying I’m not a fan of that sub-genre as a general rule (although How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days is a phenomenal example of it), so I don’t read a lot of books with this angle, so let me make that clear from the beginning. Honestly, I didn’t even know To Each Her Own was structured that way when I bought it. I simply happened to talk to the author and also a friend who brought the book to my attention, and since there are so few books that feature disability in a sex-positive light, I decided to buy it then and there.

However, I did really struggle with Jay for about the first third of the book, if not a little longer. Let’s put it this way: I couldn’t stand him. Part of this might be that I really liked Erin, and he was her enemy in this “enemies to lovers” scenario, so I was definitely seeing things more through her eyes than his despite getting his POV as well. Honestly, everything he did pissed me off in the beginning of the book, from the way he called Erin “darlin'” to some of his machinations to try to get to her. Partially because of this, I struggled through the first chunk of the novel. And although it was interesting to see another take on a woman dealing with her struggle with her sexual identity (her devness)–this book is very, very different from (W)hole despite that–at first it felt almost a little overdone, like I was being hit over the head with the conflict. I honestly didn’t find Erin’s suicide attempt so . . . “believable” isn’t quite the right word, but it seemed to be a little melodramatic at first, and then later I found it hard to believe that this was the same woman who’d tried to take her own life because she was so frustrated by this element of her sexuality she wished she wanted to die. I wanted a little more depth of character from Erin, especially in the beginning, and this is probably another reason that it was slow for me to get into at first. (Don’t get me wrong, I think the frustrations Erin experiences are very real, and I really appreciated how later in the book she gets a kind of denial/suppression situation that mirrored a lot of experiences some homosexual individuals struggle through, including the hope that if she wants to be “normal,” she can be.)

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