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59 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars The First Time...A Page Turner
I just finished reading this book. It has been reviewed many times so I won't go into any detail about the story. I give this book 5 stars for the reasons other people have. It's very powerful and very moving and the characters seem so real. There aren't many books like this (for me at least) that make me want to keep reading constantly! It was a mostly unpredictable...
Published on March 1 2007 by Andrea N.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Love and Marriage
One would assume that these two things go together, unfortunately for the characters in this novel, Mattie and Jake, the two do not go hand in hand. Mattie and Jake married young due to an unexpected pregnancy. Jake always felt that he was pressured to do the right thing. He never truly gave himself to Mattie or their teenage daughter Kim.
When Mattie discovers...
Published on April 12 2002 by Diane


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5.0 out of 5 stars The First Time...A Page Turner, March 1 2007
This review is from: The First Time (Paperback)
I just finished reading this book. It has been reviewed many times so I won't go into any detail about the story. I give this book 5 stars for the reasons other people have. It's very powerful and very moving and the characters seem so real. There aren't many books like this (for me at least) that make me want to keep reading constantly! It was a mostly unpredictable story that kept you wanting to know more and get to the end. It was interesting all the way through and the end was quite emotional. I think I'll read another one of Joy Fielding's books and I hope it's as good as this one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Made my list of top 10 faves..., July 17 2003
By 
M. I. "krushedvelvet" (Old Bridge, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The First Time (Mass Market Paperback)
Wow. You know how sometimes you read a book..and when youre finished..you actually hesitate to read another because you still feel so moved??? Well.."The First Time" is one of those books. It is absolutely heartwrenching. Romantic..sooo romantic..soo real. The characters of Jake and Mattie were wonderfully developed. I highly recommend sinking your teeth into this fantastically romantic and well written story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars SHE JUST WANTED TIME, Oct. 29 2002
By 
BeatleBangs1964 (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The First Time (Mass Market Paperback)
In 1998-1999, Mattie, then 37 discovers she has Lou Gehrig's disease. The illness is manifested in laughing uncontrollably a propos of nothing, fatigue and muscular degeneration. Once she has a through physical, she copes with the devastating news.
Mattie's husband, Jason nicknamed "Jake" is seemingly impersonal and distant. He carries on an affair with a singularly odious woman named Honey who takes her place with Fielding's other despicable literary women such as Kate Sinclair in "Missing Pieces," Gail Walton in "Life Penalty," Elaine, Jill and Nicole in "The Other Woman," Paula in "See Jane Run," Debbie in "Good Intentions" and Jess in "Tell Me No Secrets." Honey wants Jake to divorce Mattie and is delighted to hear of Mattie's illness.
I actively disliked Honey and thought she nothing to recommend her. When she barges in on Jake in his office and demands a hug, I wanted him to kick her out the door at worst and have Security not-too-gently eject her from the premises at best. She has the audacity to barge in on Jake and Mattie's "honeymoon" in Paris as well. I wish Jake had gotten a restraining order for her. I thought she was a ruthless, conniving, manipulative character.
Mattie and her 16-year-old daughter Kim have long bonded; Jake attempts to bond with her by taking her to the court where he is trying a case. His efforts are singularly rebuffed. A good story about love, loss and repair. Mattie is a delightful, sympathetic character who will tug at many hearts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book, Jan. 19 2011
This review is from: The First Time (Hardcover)
An excellent read from start to finish, I couldn't put it down. Very bittersweet, had me in tears at the end, which never happens to me. Loved it! Have passed it on to friends, and will definitely recommend it to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The First Time. The best book I have ever read!, Jan. 16 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The First Time (Hardcover)
Joy Fielding's work does tend to hop between one and four stars, but to my mind, this was her best work. The storyline is compelling and her characters are so real that I mourned their absence from my life when I'd finished reading the book. I highly recommend this book to all woman aged 18 and up. You'll find that during it, you will need several boxes of Kleenex, but at the end of it, you'll understand that much more about living and dying.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I wrote this to Joy Fielding after reading 'The First Time', Feb. 26 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The First Time (Mass Market Paperback)
Hi Joy,
I've never written to an author before, I've never felt compelled to do so. That is until now! I've read ALL of your books, which by the way, are ALL GREAT! I have just finished "The First Time" (I read out of order!) and that is why I feel compelled to write to you. Now, I have to tell you that I rarely, IF EVER, cry reading books!
In fact, up till now, there has been only one book I've ever cried over and that was Nicholas Sparks, the Notebook, which I sobbed and sobbed. Your book, The First Time, has taken over spot No. ONE in that department! I cried and cried and cried! It's a good thing the pages are printed in non-runny ink! This book was very moving, it must be to have made me cry so much! I've cried in movies, and that's not too often either. Just so you know what company your book keeps I can only list six movies I've ever cried in. Here's how I rank them in tearfulness:
1) The Champ (Ricky Schroeder)
2) Stolen Hours (Susan Hayward/remake of Dark Victory w/Bette Davis)
3) Madam X (Lana Turner)
4) Stella Dallas (Barbara Stanwyck)
5) Love Story
6) Breakfast At Tiffany's (happy tears)
I didn't even cry in that movie with Shirley Mclain, where the daughter has cancer! Everyone else did.
Well anyway, just wanted to tell how much I enjoy your books. It's amazing how you are able to swing between the scary stuff and ,now (after The First Time and Grand Avenue), the relationship stuff! KEEP THOSE BOOKS COMING! You are a VERY TALENTED WRITER!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good one!, Jan. 31 2003
By 
Amisha Mehta "amylovesbooks" (Houston, TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The First Time (Mass Market Paperback)
I read this book a couple of months ago, but I do remember that I really enjoyed reading it. The characters are well sketched out and very true to life. I will be reading more books by Fielding, for sure. This is a great book that deals with infidelity and how it affects families in various ways.
I do remember going through this one very quickly, almost getting sucked in right away. If you're interested, pick it up. It's a great, inspirational story about a couple that manages to change some dysfunctional patterns they are stuck in, and to turn their relationship around.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A recommendation for euthanasia!, Jan. 5 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The First Time (Mass Market Paperback)
If you want to read a book that romanticizes killing your daughter because she has a terminal illness -- this is probably it!
I found the whole premise unsettling and simplistic. There is a lack of moral foundation for the whole story.
First, the book focuses on a faithless husband; then it moves on to a child who has her first experience of sex in her own home when her parents are gone. Finally, in a poorly contrived subplot, the "heroine" convinces her mother to kill her when "it's time."
The book is written to sell. And it has! So I assume that the author achieved her goals.
It is basically a shallow and romanticized portray of euthanasia. I do not recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get out the tissues! This book is wonderful!, Dec 2 2002
This review is from: The First Time (Mass Market Paperback)
I definitey recommend this book if you can handle sad books. If you can't, then don't read this one. I cried the whole last 10 or 15 pages. And I don't mean just tears in your eyes, be ready to sob!
You will come to love Mattie as you feel you know her personally. The author gets so intimate and takes you into the book with her that you really feel like you are a part of this story. The whole book is a roller coaster of emotions that will leave you a sobbing mess.
I love an author that can tap into your emotions like that, therefore I loved this book!!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Just another Sappy Romance!, Oct. 8 2002
By 
I Love Books "marvelousmom" (Salt Lake City, Utah USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The First Time (Mass Market Paperback)
First of all, let me state that I put this book into the "sappy romance" category. I'm not a fan of sappy romances, but if you are you'll probably like this book a lot more than I did. Having said that, I submit the following review:
I read this book because it was chosen for our book club. This is the story of Mattie Hart. In the beginning of the book she is fantasizing about how to kill her husband, Jake, because she has just found out that he has been having an another affair.They decide to separate, and just as she is celebrating having him out of her life, she is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and is told she has a year to live. Out of guilt and a sense of responsibility, Jake moves back into the house to take care of her. Complicating the story is that fact that both Jake and Mattie had fathers who cheated and ran out, leaving them to cope with dysfunctional mothers, and their daughter Kim, whose father, Jake, cheated and left then came back and assumed a role that she's not comfortable with. The entire story centers around how Jake and Mattie and Kim work out their problems and learn to love each other in the short year before Mattie finally dies.
I will admit that the story was somewhat compelling to read and the ending tugged at my heartstrings--have one or two Kleenex ready. But to me, this was a shallow romance no better than the cheap paperbacks that are all the same formula. I had several problems with the plot.
The treatment of Mattie's disease was rather superficial and meaningless. I kept thinking about "Tuesdays with Morrie," a true story about a man dying from the disease. Some of the passages seemed straight out of that book, especially his thoughts about how you lose your dignity when you get to the point where someone else has to help you go to the bathroom and wipe your bottom. I'm convinced that the author used the book as reference material.
I felt that the psychological problems of Mattie and Jake were trivialized as well. A person who is as abused and neglected as either of them doesn't just magically heal from those wounds overnight, and certainly not in less than a year. And it is even less likely that two of them together would heal each other without the help of therapy, especially that quickly. The whole premise was very unbelievable, in my opinion. Also the daughter, Kim, began suffering self-esteem issues and was developing anorexia, which seemed to vanish without explanation except that they loved her out of it.
I was irritated and offended at the unnecessarily explicit sex scenes. They didn't add anything to the story; quite the reverse--they seemed to emphasize to the lack of depth in the story. An author who struggles with putting love into words always puts in plenty of sex scenes, as if love and sex are the same thing. And to tell the truth, the sex scenes weren't even exciting or compelling. They were rather clinical and dispassionate.
Most unbelievable was that her mother helped Mattie die in the end. I had a hard time believing that her mother, who magically changed from an indifferent, dysfunctonal mother to a caring, loving one, would deliberately kill her own child just at the point where they were beginning to have a really good relationship. Even if the child was sick and begged for help doing it. She was chosen by Mattie because she had no trouble putting her dogs to sleep when they were suffering, and somehow we are supposed to think that she would just as easily do the same for Mattie, in spite of the fact that she wasn't the one who actually put the dogs to sleep; she took them to the vet.
So even though the ending tugged at my heartstrings and got me to shed a few tears (which I probably needed to shed anyway for personal reasons), I am only giving this book 2 stars.
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The First Time
The First Time by Joy Fielding (Mass Market Paperback - 2001)
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