As Long as He Needs Me Review
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Kitty Pritchard and Clem Johanssen met at an anti-Vietnam War rally. Though apolitical, Kitty was suckered into coming by a friend, while Clem, a draftee, was there solely for curiosity’s sake. The two soon fell in love and eloped shortly after Kitty’s eighteenth birthday.

Thirty-five years later, they’re ready to embark on a cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary. On the way to the port, two kids run off with Clem’s wallet after he practically hands it over to them. This highly anticipated vacation begins on a sour note and remains there as Clem refuses to let his brief act of stupidity pass. In fact, instead of enjoying the cruise, he sleeps in his cabin or just mopes around and reflects on his shortcomings.

Kitty and Clem seemed to have the perfect marriage, but as Kitty reflects on their lives together, the reader slowly learns what this couple has actually been through. From betrayal, infidelity, and resentment to family tragedy, this marriage has endured it all. However, along with Clem’s unusual behavior on the cruise, Kitty is faced with numerous temptations. Will their marriage survive this?

The struggles and tragedies revealed in As Long as He Needs Me—named after the song the couple coined as “theirs”—are very real. However, the reader figures out most of the crises long before the characters do, and the clues are not at all subtle—just way too obvious. There is one small surprise that I enjoyed at the end, concerning a man named Sebby—but that was it.

Still, the book’s biggest problem is that the major characters aren’t believable. Though this is supposed to be contemporary fiction, Kitty seems to have popped right out of a stereotypical 1950s television series, such as Ozzie and Harriet or Father Knows Best. Her personality, image, and corny dialogue just don’t fit with today’s woman, whether she be 40, 50, or 60. Also, Kitty attracts so many men, even though she puts nothing out there to make them believe that they could get into bed with her.

I’m not saying that a romantic novel has to be crude or vulgar, but the characters do need to be somewhat realistic. Instead, I found Kitty and Clem to be irritating. If you’re looking for a story that includes adultery and heartbreak but still manages to stay squeaky clean, then you may enjoy As Long as He Needs Me. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough for me.

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