Love May Fail- Book Review
Title: Love May Fail
Author: Matthew Quick
This book was almost painful to read. I’m serious. I really enjoyed the first chapter. It only went downhill from there.
It was well written- Matthew Quick is a great author, and, just like Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, it is interesting and dynamic.
So why only 2 stars?
Mostly, because the characters drove me crazy, and I thought that it was glorifying abusive relationships, and mishandled drug abuse (is that an oxymoron?) which I can’t get behind.
I wanted the book to end after the first chapter. I liked Portia in the first chapter, hiding in the closet with a gun and a scotch, wanting to kill her cheating, manipulative husband. It was an interesting start, to say the least.
This book was about Portia, her high school teacher, her high school teachers mother who is a nun, and an ex-heroin addict that she meets.
Portia, after breaking up with her husband, goes back to her small town and learns that her favorite high school teacher (who encouraged her to write) is no longer teaching, because one of his students tried to kill him with a baseball bat. She decides to seek him out and convince him to go back to teaching.
Meanwhile, she meets Chuck, a sweet bartender/teacher who is dealing with a former heroin addiction. She also decides to write a book, something her former husband discouraged.
None of the characters were particularly fleshed out. Portia was a spoiled brat who thought that the fact that she grew up waitressing negated all of the privilege that she had. She complained all of the time, and was not sympathetic to any of the other characters. She just seemed unnecessary cruel and not understanding at all.
I liked her in the first chapter when she was losing her shit, but after that her characterization just went downhill. She didn’t really consider that her mother needed help, that Nathan Vernon, her former teacher, had PTSD, or that her new boyfriend, Chuck, was dealing with addiction.
Nathan Vernon also really bugged me. He just didn’t feel like a real character, and we got to see 0% of his character growth. He clearly had PTSD and depression, but it was never addressed by any of the other characters, and by the end of the book it was magically cured? Yeah, that’s not how it works.
Chuck was a sweet character, if a little one dimensional. His storyline felt rushed, and as a former addict, he was not that sympathetic or understanding to his sisters’ situation. He is also in love with Portia after .2 seconds of meeting her again? His interactions with the kid was probably the best part of the book, but that’s not saying much.
The plot was so rushed in some sections, and then so slow in others, that it was impossible to get invested in the story. The characters were dislikable at best, and I couldn’t really get any of the motivations behind the actions of the characters. The nun part of the story felt really unnecessary, so I didn’t even mention it.
I also really didn’t like how the author dealt with drug addiction, abuse, or mental illness in this book. It really took me out of the story, and using suicide attempts as plot devices and then not addressing them later in the story is not okay.
Clearly, this is not a book I would recommend reading.