Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung

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I read Laurinda by Australian writer Alice Pung some time ago and quite enjoyed the story of a Chinese-Australian girl from the western suburbs of Melbourne who won a scholarship to an exclusive girl’s school. When I found a copy of this author’s biography, Unpolished Gem, I was very happy to have the opportunity to read her story of growing up in Footscray, a suburb in western Melbourne where I have worked. Footscray is home to a great many Asian-Australians and this story gave me an insight into a world I can see but not be part of.

I suspect the author was able to tell her Chinese-Cambodian family’s story so openly because her parents do not read English, so she was quite safe from getting into trouble with them after telling all of their secrets. I suspect her parents would say “Wah!” if they realised she had written so openly about their faults and failings.

The family’s life in Australia was in complete contrast to her parent’s lives in China and Cambodia, from the atrocities of Cambodia under the Pol Pot regime in particular.

Some of the stories are funny and absolutely gorgeous. I loved hearing about the author’s grandmother blessing Father Government for giving old people money in the form of a pension, and the joy that came from shopping at supermarkets and stopping traffic with the little green man at the pedestrian crossings. It made me laugh to hear that the Chinese people call white Australians ‘ghosts.’ The happier stories also reminded me of how much I take for granted as a white Australian.

Other stories were more difficult to read. A number of generations living together has its’ blessings and its’ curses, and I felt terribly sorry for Alice as her mother and grandmother used her as a tool to make each other angry or unhappy. Sharing her bed with her grandmother must have been difficult for Alice too, possibly not so unusual for a child visiting a grandparent but quite unusual in everyday life in contemporary Australia.

The story which most made my heart go out to the author was an incident when Alice’s younger sister rolled off the bed and had to be checked for brain injuries while Alice had been looking after her. Luckily the baby was fine, but the blame and guilt heaped on Alice, who was also very young, was excessive.

Alice was diagnosed with depression as a teenager, and did amazingly well to end up studying law at Melbourne University. In Australian, Chinese parents are known for expecting their children to do well at school and I found it sad to read stories of families treating their children with contempt when they failed to achieve what was expected of them. Often these ‘failures’ were just shy of achieving the marks to do law, so in reality, they had achieved very good results in school.

The story ends with Alice about 19 or 20, breaking up with her Skippy (white Australian) boyfriend.

I preferred the fiction of Laurinda, but Unpolished Gem was an interesting read.

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Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

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Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is my first Anne Tyler book. Not sure why I’ve never picked up one of her books before, because she is good.  I think I was put off by watching The Accidental Tourist starring William Hurt. The story was terribly sad and I didn’t enjoy it.

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is the story of a very ordinary, unhappy family. The story goes back and forward in time, but starts with Pearl Tull dying as one of her sons sits with her.

Pearl was the mother of three children in 1944 when her husband, a salesman, left her. Somehow Pearl never got around to telling the children that their father wasn’t coming back, assuming that because he travelled so much they wouldn’t notice. Pearl found a job in a grocery store and got on with bringing up the children in their joyless home.

Pearl’s children are wildly different from each other. Cody is an attractive bad boy. Cody is horribly jealous of his younger brother Ezra who is a goody-goody, while their sister Jenny is unsettled and flighty. Pearl is disappointed by all of her children, wanting them to be whatever they are not. Pearl is a perfectionist with a nasty temper, and as adults, the children do not remember their childhood with pleasure.

Each family member has a different view of the events that happened to shape the family. I found it fascinating that what Pearl remembered as the happiest times of her life were when the children were small, but Cody, Ezra and Jennifer have very different memories of particular occasions. This reminded me of a comment one of my sisters once made when she was living overseas and was receiving letters from all of us at home. (Yes, actual letters which had been posted, sent overseas by airmail and delivered into her letterbox. Way back in the olden days…) Anyway, my sister said we all wrote to her with the same news, however everyone had such different outlooks or points to make that each writer could have been describing a completely separate event.

Not much actually happens in Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. The characters live ordinary lives, day after day, but the story is so readable and the characters so real that I couldn’t put the book down. The dynamics between Cody and Ezra were particularly interesting, as Cody was so terribly jealous of Ezra that he could barely mention Ezra’s name without saying something mean, and Ezra was so bumbling and eternally hopeful that it was no wonder to me Cody hated him. Maybe an only child wouldn’t find these relationships so fascinating, but I’m sure I’m not alone in recognising some of my worst traits in these characters, particularly those which come out when I am with my siblings.

I hoped that the characters would eventually be able to eat a meal together as a family at Ezra’s restaurant, the Homesick Restaurant, without somebody leaving in a snit, but it wasn’t to be.

I’ll definitely read more Anne Tyler and might even try The Accidental Tourist sometime, although possibly with a box of tissues at hand.

 

 

 

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Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

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Lisa Genova has a distinct story-telling style. Pick a horrible disease, preferably something untreatable and fatal. Introduce a lovely character who is an asset to their family and community, make the reader care about the character’s fate and then boom! Give the character the disease and allow the readers to learn about it as the character does. Leave readers sobbing as the character realises how grateful they are to be alive at all, and how blessed they are to have their family and friends.

Inside the O’Briens follows the formula.

The O’Brien’s are an Irish Catholic family living in Boston. Joe O’Brien is in his forties and happily married to Rosie. They have four grown up children and a dog. Joe is a police officer, who, along with his workmates, is jittery after the Boston Marathon bombing. The whole family religiously follow the Red Sox baseball team.

Joe’s temper occasionally flares up and he is clumsy. Rosie gets fed up with him breaking things around the house and when she notices him wriggling constantly, she forces him to visit a doctor.

Joe is diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease.

I knew very little about Huntington’s Disease before reading this story, and neither did Joe or Rosie. Over the course of the story, the O’Brien’s and I learned exactly what a terrible disease Huntington’s is, which manifests as follows;

motor, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms that typically begin at age 35-45 and advance relentlessly until death. There is currently no cure or treatment that can halt, slow, or reverse the disease’s progression.

Most of the story follows Joe’s day to day life. He chooses to work until he is no longer physically able to manage, but unfortunately, when he does have to retire it is before he is financially ready. Early retirement affects Joe’s pension and Joe and Rosie are advised to take measures they find abhorrent to protect the family home.

Worst of all for Joe, Rosie and their children is wondering which others of them have the disease. There is a fifty-fifty chance for each of his children that they will have the disease. If they don’t have it, the disease stops with them, but if they do, then their children will also have a fifty-fifty chance of having Huntington’s Disease.

Other chapters follow Joe’s children’s lives. One of Joe and Rosie’s children is married, and his wife has just learned she is pregnant. One daughter’s is a ballet dancer and the other, a yoga teacher. Their youngest son is the one they worry most about, he works in a bar, gets in fights from time to time and might be using drugs. Some of the children choose to find out if they will develop Huntington’s, and others are happier not knowing.

For such a sad story, the book ends on a gracious and hopeful note, just as Still Alice and Love Anthony did. There is no hope that the characters (or real people) who have Huntington’s Disease will get a reprieve, but the O’Brien’s are accepting of their fate, grateful for their family and friends, and most importantly, aware they are loved.

 

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Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

 

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It is lucky that Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie features legendary detective Hercule Poirot, because none of the other characters in this novel had a clue who murdered their fellow character, sex-pot Arlena Stuart, and neither did I.

Evil Under the Sun is set on Smuggler’s Island, where a group of holiday makers, including Hercule Poirot, Arlene, her husband Ken and step-daughter Linda are staying at The Jolly Roger Hotel. Arlene, in her green Chinaman’s hat and white swimsuit is, to everyone else’s disgust, making short work of a fellow guest’s affections, young Patrick Redfern, while feeling sorry for Patrick’s heart-broken wife Christine.

Also holidaying on the island is a sensible dress-designer who grew up with Ken, a pair of oblivious Americans, several shady characters, a fellow who is best avoided once he starts telling long-winded stories about his time in India, and others who are only there to swim, boat and build sand-castles.

As always, Agatha Christie tells an entertaining story.

I did have a bit of a giggle to myself when all of the holiday-makers continued their holiday after Arlene was murdered. Never let a murder get in the way of a good day at the beach!

The landlady of The Jolly Roger was the most distressed person of the lot, worrying about what people would think when it got out there had been a murder on the island. The investigations continued around the holiday making, with Hercule Poirot asking questions and observing his fellow character’s behaviours, while putting together what had happened like a jigsaw until he had a clear case and could expose the murderer. When he did, I realised I had suspected every other character in the book, including the landlady*, while discounting the guilty party.

I did think that some elements of this particular murder were too far-fetched, but Evil Under the Sun has really good characters and the most appealing location of an Agatha Christie novels other than the Orient Express. I would love to holiday on Smugglers Island myself, but at the rate bodies turn up wherever Hercule Poirot goes, would have cancelled my reservation when I saw him just in case it was my turn to be the murder victim.

*It wasn’t the landlady.

 

 

 

 

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The Dress by Kate Kerrigan

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The Dress by Kate Kerrigan is told in a style which is popular right now, where there is a present story and a past story which meet at the end.

In the ‘past’ story, a charismatic young Irishman named Frank sets sail for New York, where he works hard to become rich and successful. Once Frank achieves his aims, he falls in love with a beautiful woman named Joy who is a leader of New York Society. Joy and Frank marry, and are mostly happy, except that they cannot have a baby. As time goes on, Joy’s drinking starts to become a problem.

In the ‘present’ story, we have Lily, a wildly successful Vintage Fashion Blogger (the story didn’t say if she uses WordPress but we will assume she does) who finds an old photo of Joy wearing the most beautiful dress ever created. Lily decides to re-create the dress and in doing so, gets involved in a competition with one of the best known designers in the world to create the most beautiful dress in the world. In doing so, Lily begins digging around to try and find either Joy, or Honor, the designer of Joy’s dress.

There is a bit more to The Dress than this, but for me, reading this story was simply a happy way to spend a few hours without thinking too hard. The large print was easy to read, and as I love vintage fashion, I was as happy as a cricket reading descriptions of gorgeous fabrics and Irish lace and sewing jewels into the skirt. I probably wouldn’t recommend the book as anything other than a very light, enjoyable read, but if vintage fashion is your thing, then add The Dress to your reading list.

 

 

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The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

good.pngGoodness, if He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers or I had read The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford before we got married, I doubt we would have risked it. I don’t think I’ve ever come across an unhappier group of connivers as the characters in this novel in all my reading days.

If you are planning to get married and have any niggling doubts regarding your choice of partner, then read this book and be warned! If you ever intend to read this book, then stop reading right now, as I am going to tell you everything…

The Good Soldier is set sometime before WW1. It is narrated by John Dowell, who is an oblivious fool. John tells the story of himself and his wife Florence, and another couple, Edward and Leonora Ashburnham. Edward, who is unable to keep it in his pants, was formerly a soldier and is ‘The Good Soldier’ of the title.

The couples met at a spa in Germany where Florence and Edward, who have ‘hearts,’ take the baths and other treatments for their health. Things seem straightforward enough in the beginning, when the couples recognise each other as ‘good people’ for very superficial reasons; they all like their beef underdone, the men drink the same spirits and the women prefer the same wine. For nine years the two couples’ friendship continued with regular meetings at the spa, meals and conversations, but as the story unfolded, it turns out that things were not as they seemed to John.

John is a cuckold, to use an old-fashioned term. After his wife’s death, John learned that Florence did not have a ‘heart’ at all, and her supposed ill health was just a lie to prevent a physical relationship with him. Florence and Edward had been having a passionate affair under John’s nose for years. Florence suicided when Edward fell in love with someone else and became frightened that John would learn of her affair with another man before they married. Meanwhile, Edward’s wife, Leonora, was fully aware of her husband’s affair with Florence as she was with all of Edward’s previous affairs, but she was more interested in controlling their financial matters than making a success of their emotional relationship. Later, Leonora got her nose out of joint when Edward fell in love with their very young ward, and did the ‘right’ thing by her and sent her away.

The narrator warns the reader in the first sentence and throughout the narrative that ‘this is the saddest story,’ although John isn’t heartbroken when his wife dies and is quite matter of fact about Edward’s many affairs, romanticising him as a sentimentalist. John takes it for granted that a man’s passion will ebb and that when this happens, his love will end.

The pages of the book will become familiar, the beautiful corner of the road will have been turned too many times. Well, this is the saddest story.

Edward also suicided and his young ward went mad, Leonora ended up married to an ordinary bloke who she seemed to be happy with, and John finished up nursing Edward and Leonora’s ward, who he was also in love with. By the end of this complicated and unhappy tangle of affairs it was difficult to believe anything that John said, except for his wish that he had lived his own life more like Edward lived his.

The character’s morals in The Good Soldier are dreadful, but they all seemed to get what they deserved. The language is beautiful, the story is extraordinarily well told, and best of all, the characters became real to me, but if Ford Madox Ford’s works are all on similar themes, then I don’t want to read any more of his work. I much prefer fairy tales where nice people live happily ever after.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Club by David Williamson

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I bought Australian playwright David Williamson’s The Club from an opportunity shop for 50 cents. Back in the day, this play was studied by high school students, which means that these days, every op shop in Australia always has at least three copies for sale.

The play was set in the clubrooms of an Australian Rules football club in Melbourne during the 1970’s, with the action taking place over a single evening. There are only six characters, all male, in the play; the coach, the Club President, the go-getting young administrator, a high flying new recruit, the ageing team captain and a board member who was a former player and coach.

The politics and backstabbing going on in the club’s board room is ridiculously over the top, but probably typical of many sporting clubs at the time. The board members have been angling to have the coach sacked but the team captain is threatening a player’s strike if that happens. The coach wants to drop the non-performing star recruit back to the reserves to straighten him out, and to cap things off, the Club President has assaulted a stripper at a boy’s night and is desperately trying to keep the incident out of the press. Other board members see this as an opportunity to oust the old President and bring in fresh money in the form of a new President.

Violence against women is a theme in The Club. The characters disparage other men who hurt women, but they try and buy off the stripper with $20, and in another exchange which left my jaw on the ground, one of the older characters said he once played a bad game, went home and hit his wife after she said, “I think you met your match today.” He then complained about the harm done to his playing psyche; She apologised later but by that time the damage (to him) was done.

The themes in The Club are very familiar to me, as a child during the 1970’s in a country area where the local football club was the centre of the community. Everybody knew which club members, ‘good’ blokes who would do anything for the club, went home and belted their wives. Wives and girlfriends, who turned a blind eye to regular club fundraisers in the form of stripper’s nights, tirelessly ran the canteen and washed the jumpers. The centre-half forward had his pick of local girls who all wanted the associated glamour of going out with the team’s biggest hero, and even in the under-7’s, the father’s had to drink with the coach and selection committee for their kid to get a game. Kids learned the words to Up There Cazaly at school and imagined taking a screamer in front of the crowd.

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But back to the play.

The story is set at a time when football clubs where just starting to play their players, and the club’s coach, Laurie and other players resent the club President and board members paying $90,000 for Geoff Hayward. Geoff has under-performed since joining the team and at one point during the last week’s game, was day-dreaming and completely oblivious to the ball going past him. Later Geoff owned up to Laurie that he was stoned and was watching a seagull instead of the ball, because he was afraid of failing. Laurie eventually found a way to connect with and motivate Geoff, and the reader got the sense that Geoff will play like a star again in the future.

These days, Australian Rules football is big business and the themes in The Club are still relevant. The ‘boy’s club’ mentality still exists up to a point, although women now have places on the highest-level boards and work with the players on their fitness and injuries. The media speculate on the likelihood of under-performing coaches being sacked and on ageing players being traded. The women’s league has just started and is proving to be very popular, although old men are yet to be convinced of the merits of women playing football. The biggest change however is that these days the only people who are loyal to their club are the fans. Go the Cats…

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David Williamson is best known in Australia for writing the screenplays for Gallipoli (starring a very young Mel Gibson), Phar Lap, and The Year of Living Dangerously, although Don’s Party, a play based on the 1969 Australian Federal Election, was the work which kick-started his career.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch a performance of The Club, but David Williamson has captured the boys club mentality perfectly.  And as a spectator, I’m a bit jaded with business of Australian Rules Football at the highest level, but I am quite happy to stand on the fence at the ground down the road and cheer on my local team team.

 

 

 

 

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The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

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If I had to describe The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim in just one word, that word would be ‘charming.’

Elizabeth Von Arnim was born in Australia but returned to England with her parents at the age of three. Her family must have been quite well off, because she lived a glamorous life, touring Europe, marrying a Prussian aristocrat, then having an affair with H. G. Wells after her husband’s death. (I believe loads of women had affairs with H. G. Wells, but still…) Eventually Elizabeth Von Arnim re-married an English Earl, but in between marrying, travelling, bringing up five children and having affairs, she wrote 22 books.

The Enchanted April was published in 1922. The story begins with Mrs Wilkins having lunch at her club, when she reads an advertisement in The Times.

To Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine. Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let Furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain. Z, Box 1000, The Times.

Mrs Wilkins is a retiring woman married to a bullying solicitor, however she immediately pictured herself spending April in Italy enjoying the Wistaria and Sunshine. Looking around her club, she noticed another woman, Mrs Arbuthnot, seemingly reading the same advertisement. Mrs Wilkins introduces herself to Mrs Arbuthnot, then in an behaviour entirely unlike her usual self, raises the possibility of the two of them renting the castle during April. Mrs Arbuthnot is initially hesitant because she is a self-denying type of person, but in a move which is entirely out of her character, contacts the owner and pays the required 60 pounds to take the castle for the month of April. Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arbuthnot advertise to find another two women to come to Italy (and split the costs) and find Lady Caroline who is a beautiful young woman looking for solitude, and Mrs Fisher, a grumpy and lonely old woman.

The castle is everything that Mrs Wilkins has ever dreamed of and under the influence of its’ charms, she becomes happy, outspoken and confident. She is so happy that she invites her husband out to join her in Italy. In due course he arrives and is involved in an embarrassing incident with a temperamental bath which made me laugh so hard I woke up my own sleeping husband, who didn’t see the funny side…

Mrs Arbuthnot’s self denying behaviour has caused issues in her own marriage, after her husband became a best-selling author of scandalous stories. She felt morally unable to spend and enjoy the proceeds of her his work which caused them to live separate lives, however a series of funny misunderstandings brought them back together.

I was less enamoured of Lady Caroline’s character and problems, as it is hard to feel sorry for someone who is rich, young, well connected and so beautiful that everyone who crosses her path falls at her feet in servitude.  Mrs Fisher is also a lesser character although easier to feel sorry for than Lady Caroline, as she is bored and lonely and has no one to love. For these characters too, enjoying sunshine and wisteria during April in Italy bring them long-term happiness too.

What I most liked about the writing in this book, is that even though it was written nearly 100 years ago, the characters, their behaviour and their wants and needs are still quite real. Mrs Arbuthnot’s morals are a little dated, but the characters are likeable and believable, and I had no problem imagining them enjoying their holiday.

Mrs Wilkins argument to convince Mrs Arbuthnot to go to Italy won me too. She said over and over again that being good at home was not bringing them happiness and that they would be better off enjoying themselves elsewhere;

“Why, it would really be being unselfish to go away and be happy for a little, because we would come back so much nicer.”

Count me in. Reading The Enchanted April felt like a little holiday to me and with 22 other novels by this author I’ll be sure to have other charming little holidays soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Find Love in a Book Shop by Veronica Henry

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Reading How to Find Love in a Book Shop by Veronica Henry was a lovely way to spend a cold Autumn day, tucked up all warm and comfy with chocolates at my fingertips. This book is clearly aimed at female readers who enjoy light romance.

The story starts with Emilia Nightingale, a woman in her thirties sitting by her dearly-loved father’s side in hospital as he lies dying. This story could have gone downhill from such a sad starting point, however Emilia is a generous character who is loved and respected in the tiny village where her father Julius has ran Nightingale Books since she was a baby.

The other main characters are similar to Emilia in that they are generous, loving, kind, worthy people, whose flaws seem charming, even though some are adulterers and others are thieves, who behave as stupidly and selfishly on occasion as real people. There are also characters whose bad behaviours seriously impact on other main character’s lives. Despite this, they were all so lovely that I wanted to sell up and move to this fictional village with Nightingale Books at its heart.

The book shop attracts all sorts of customers, including Sarah, a married woman who secretly loved and was loved by Julius for many years. Somehow this relationship didn’t come off as tawdry in any way, instead I felt sympathetic towards Julius and Sarah.

Sarah’s daughter Alice also has her own storyline, as she is loved by someone who works for her mother, a genuinely good bloke, however she is engaged to a complete tosser. Unfortunately Alice married the tosser before discovering something about him she could not live with, but this being fiction, Alice kicked the tosser out of their wedding reception and told him to arrange an annulment, then told her guests to kick on and enjoy the party while she took off to find the good bloke.

Another character is terribly shy, but has a thing for the fellow in the village cheesemongers shop (luckily, the shy character is a cook who loves cheese too), while another character was a model in the Swinging Sixties and was romantically scarred for life by a fling with a charismatic actor way back in the day.

Emilia has her own romance, which didn’t interest me as much as the solutions she found for the book shop’s various problems. The issues included the business losing money, a failing roof, dirty and dusty contents, and the books not being set out in a way where anybody could find anything in a hurry. Conveniently, Emilia makes friends with a customer who used to work at a house and style magazine who takes on the job of making the book shop look attractive with a new logo,  a café and creating little rooms for each section (crime has a comfy chair in front of the fireplace and cookery has a butcher’s block and cake stands).

I expect I will read other novels by Veronica Henry in future, for the pleasure of being immersed in a lovely world where every town has a book shop and delightful characters whose problems are dealt with in ways that would never happen in real life.

 

 

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The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

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The Course of Love by Alain de Botton was hard to read at times, because I kept recognising my own relationship failings in the character’s faults, not to mention those of my husbands. Only joking. Well, sort of only joking. He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers believes he doesn’t have any faults. Clearly he is Mr Right, first name Always, which annoys me enormously, and being annoyed with him for being right all the time is obviously a fault of mine.

However, this isn’t about me….

The Course of Love follows a couple, Rabih and Kirsten, from their first meeting and the early days of their romance, through their engagement and marriage, their struggles to maintain their relationship and friendship after they become parents and during hard times as they get older, which includes adultery and the death of their parents.

Rabih and Kirsten find it strange that other people only ever ask how they met, when for them, the interesting part of their story is all the days that come after that first meeting, particularly how they manage to overcome the many difficulties which are part of a long-term relationship. Both Rabih and Kirsten came to their marriage with insecurities, which of course causes issues during their marriage and it is not until many years into their marriage that either of them realise that perfection in a relationship does not exist.

Rabih and Kirsten’s story is alternated with advice relating to the relationship stage which their characters are in, offering suggestions for different ways the couple could manage their problems and/or understand each other better. The advice or essays consistently suggest that the ideal of ‘Romanticism’ as a basis for an ongoing relationship is flawed.

While the advice sections were clever and apt and use Rabih and Kirsten’s relationship difficulties as case studies, they actually became annoying and eventually put me off the story. The advice became more and more lecturing and I came to see the narrator as a holier-than-thou know-it-all. I’m fairly sure the narrator had more than a touch of Mr Always Bleeding Right about himself too.

However, other parts of the story made me sit up and think. The idea that our perfect love is that which our parents had for us when we were very small children, when we were always smiled at and made much of, with our every need anticipated and catered for is probably true. (I don’t ask for much more as an adult, just bring me some chocolate and leave me alone to read for a while).

The arguing about trivial things was familiar to me, as it would be to most people. After reading this I’m more aware that the arguments I have with people I love are not necessarily about the obvious reason. I can see that the arguments are not useful or helpful, but even with my newfound insight, will we continue to have these arguments? Probably, because I’m not perfect.

The characters in The Course of Love had plenty of trials, but it seemed to me they needed more fun times.

I expect most people could take some advice from The Course of Love and their relationships would be the better for it, but as a novel, this book didn’t really draw me in. If the advice had been less clever and the story more filling I expect I would have enjoyed it more, but it you enjoy self-help books, then go for it. As for me, I’ll stick with my normal method of sneaking off to my secret stash of chocolate when I’m feeling annoyed with He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers, who is actually lovely most of the time.

 

 

 

 

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