I LOVE YOU TODAY or shall I say for the moment but not for always is the catch phrase you will hear throughout the novel. But, what does it mean and how does it impact the main character, Maddie Samuels whose bright, astute, intelligent, creative yet naïve and blindsided every which way but loose when becoming involved with someone that could prove to be her personal and professional downfall. But, first she deals with an interview what is enlightening. HandiWoman Magazine is interviewing her for an art director’s job. Even though her portfolio and work is above average the interview goes well the end result does not. Told that agencies do not always accept women as more than secretaries or even low-level assistants, Maddie has to find her way somewhere else. But, where she does wind up proves to be more than just a simple job but a tragic mistake.
Rob MacLeod is the head art director and has moved around from many magazines before landing the job at Status. The name fits in more ways than one as those working there are very class conscious, elite oriented and definitely discriminatory in many ways. There is much more behind Rob MacLeod’s first impressions of Maddie and the personal questions asked that lead him to believe that she would be a perfect mark or candidate for his primary objective. Control, power, greed, verbal abuse and aggressive behavior are just some words that describe this man. Lying and believing his own lies, betraying his wife Allison and tormenting anyone that dares to question him, Maddie fall prey to his wiles, takes the job and becomes his pawn. But, why since she is dating Danny a really great guy who would move mountains for her yet the dangerous and edgy side of Rob seems to be a great lure.
Maddie’s first day was just learning the ropes and giving her a couple of sections in travel and Nights Out, which included the restaurants columns. He would work closely with her and then work closely with him. His mood changes like the weather and at times he was warm while others all business. Going to the hangout with the other assistants and secretaries the gossip flowed but Maddie did not listen. Warned by Tara is secretary that working with him was fine but becoming part of his harem a mistake. Still, Maddie did not listen and since Danny was not available for Thanksgiving she took up Rob’s offer of a drink and from there she would descend on a downward spiral that would change it all. Blind to his words, hearing and seeing what she wanted, warned by her best friend Suzanne and others to steer clear of him, Maddie does what so many naïve women do, believes Rob’s words, allows him to take control of her heart and soul and finds herself in tatters when it suits him. The drink led too much more and now she had to face whatever was next as Rob goes home to Darien and his two children. But, making up with Allison would only be a temporary fix, cheating on Maddie with his wife quite usual, his two children although he appears to care about them, their feelings tabled. The only person that matters to Rob is Rob. His wishes, his needs and nothing else comes before him. The author allows readers to meet Maddie’s mother and her stepfather Harry, understanding that they married and her mother has always been critical of her and going home to visit was not her favorite thing to do. Lies start to come easily to her as she tells her mother she’s been hard at work and that’s why she is so tired. Reality has yet to set in and when it does she won’t see it coming before it’s too late.
The author relates How Rob met Allison at a party given by a mutual friend. Her mother must have had a sixth sense because she was not taken by his outward finesse or his search for acceptance. Lying to her on a daily basis, never making the right train home and constantly finding others to be with, Rob was living on the edge but so were the guys working for him or with him. It seems that everyone in the publishing or advertising business had a side attraction and it was not his or her wives. Fred left extra pages for him in the next edition as Maddie makes her way to the pub to meet him for what she thinks is an innocent drink. Throughout the novel both Rob and Maddie get drunk quite often, smoke weed and although they seem at times to handle it, wait until Rob spirals so far out of control he cannot be reeled in. What is even worse each time he switches jobs, each time he cheats on his wife and Maddie he justifies his actions in his own mind. Self-centered, self-absorbed and self-concerned are just a few words that describe Rob. At times his friends like Ken take him in when things get out of control but why do they defend him and make Maddie and Allison feel guilty when they know he’s a first class fraud and liar.
Even when she tells him to go home to his wife he prefers her and she agrees to having a beer. Weak minded and easily swayed for someone that also seems to need someone strong and in control of her life. Danny is smart and astute and after a while things come to a head and he finally realizes it’s time to move on and away from Maddie. Sleeping with both Danny and Rob seemed not that difficult to Maddie yet being the other woman and taking away the father of his two children never dawned on her even once. Allison could yell and scream yet she too fell prey to his lies and often gave in. But, with the guidance of her parents she began to see the light and even though her father, explained to Rob that he better not upset Allison it went in one ear and out the other.
Working with Rob became difficult and at times she was alone, injured by physically and mentally and redoing some of the jobs was not in the cards and not bleeding on his layout was her prime concern. Never once considering her own feelings and basic needs she seem to become a pawn in his dangerous love game? Often dismissed as if she was a bad child that did the wrong thing, Maddie often confided in her friend Suzanne who had troubles of her own and yet listened to Maddie who never followed her warnings or heeded her advice. Things got ugly when Allison finally decided to divorce Rob and Maddie of course was right in the middle. But, she is not so innocent either when going to work
Rob works for LRG with John Langer the L, Mark Reinhold the R and Tom who frequent the bars on a nightly basis along with Rob. Wanting to go into advertising he meets Charlie who interview him and the end result is he gets the job. We know that because Charlie asks if he wants a drink at the end of the interview. Heading for PJ’s his usual haunt after work, wanting to know where Maddie is all the time, he gets angry to the point at times of no return when she does not jump at his command or answer her phone when called. He even gets belligerent and angry if she does not allow him access to her 24/7. When Rob leaves Status Magazine, Maddie gets promoted to head art director at a limited raise. She does not even get his office the sales person does. But, no matter what he does and the lies he tells even when he claims he had a hard workweek she still succumbs to his advances and is so blind to the real Rob.
Bringing Rob home to meet her parents was enlightening to them but not Maddie. Dealing with his divorce, the office politics, not returning calls, finding his way into several other beds, Maddie does not see through clear eyes and eventually agrees to become wife number 2. Thinking she has everything she wants little did she realize that a leopard does not change its spots and Rob continues on that same path hoping to keep Maddie in the dark when he sleeps with Tara and many others? Things heat up when she finally realizes that he’s lied to her too many times but working at her new job with senior art director Jay becomes a challenge for her. Thinking he dislikes her makes her wonder why she was hired and how she was going to deal with working with him. It seems that every man she meets she wants to be close to and work is foremost but acceptance seems to take the front seat. American Heritage is where she is working and she seems to like the people and the assignments she is given. But, first Rob finally signs his separation agreement, wants Maddie to say I DO and the rest will change her life but not for the better. As the author shares her marriage and his divorce we see the many sides of Rob and Maddie herself falls prey to Jay in the wrong way. Rob begins to drink more, abuse her verbally, stay out late, finding himself with Denise a bartender and often so drunk he passes out. Not really concerned with hurting Maddie yet accusing her of doing exactly what he does yet she for some reason takes him back every time. When Allison before his divorce calls her looking for Rob and then Rob’s latest conquest Caroline who belongs to someone high up in his company calls Maddie, she should have seen the light and ditched him but why does she keep coming back for more? Rob changes jobs once more moving to London and Maddie staying behind until finishing a job she needed to complete. London is great until it’s not because Rob, Tom and the others still follow suit and their habits do not change as we meet Denise and several others that keep him busy instead of coming home to his wife. The circle of lies continues and the end result is quite startling, as Maddie has to decide just what I LOVE YOU TODAY means and if she can deal with being a toy, pawn, possession and need to Rob’s inflated ego. Will she remain with him? Will she finally see the light and Jay, as they become friends and maybe much more? Maddie and Rob or Maddie alone or Maddie and Jay? Beware when someone says I LOVE YOU TODAY! Nothing lasts forever. Author Marcia Gloster gives young teens, young women and married women much food for thought as we enter the lives of those in the publishing business, ad business and the world of the jet set. Even when someone he works with is arrested he does not take ownership of anything. ROB: What would you do if someone said to you: I LOVE YOUR FOR TODAY! Would you care?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine