Saturday, April 23, 2016

New Review! F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher, 4 Cranky Stars




Tarryn Fisher has a beautiful writing style that draws you in and doesn't let up. It's hard to rate anything she writes under 5 stars for her gorgeous prose alone, but there's something about this book. Dare I say, it's a little anti-climatic.

F*ck Love centers on the first person point of view of Helena Conway. A likable, but awkward female lead character, who falls in love with her best friend's boyfriend, Kit.

She has a dream - one where a whole life unfolds, a life she never imagined with a guy who hadn't been on her radar until that moment.

The dream feels prophetic and Helena can't shake it. It's her dream life, her dream love, and essentially, that's what we're told will fulfill us, isn't it?

Alas, reality hits. In her dream life, Helena was an artist, but she doesn't seem to have the talent. What occurs is a series of awkward, inappropriate, and at times, borderline creepy, events in her quest for love.

For the most part, I enjoyed Helena. Her quirky, weirdness was relatable for anyone who has an overthinking, squiggly line type of brain. Her inner monologue oscillated between insightful and oblivious. Then it became tiresome.

One of the book's main strengths and weaknesses is the inner monologue. The pacing is breakneck speed. It's insightful. Fisher drops a number of truth bombs in there - treasure amongst the chaos. 

It's manic, like Helena, and because there's no other point of view, because it's first person narration, because, because, because it becomes overwhelming. I wanted to run away from her, not with her.

If she were a friend, I would have to avoid her for a couple of weeks to get my breath back. Maybe even forever. She would be the Absinthe I drag out once in a blue moon to get totalled, swear off,  and think years later it is a good idea to revisit, forgetting it almost killed me last time. 

I liked Kit, the love interest, but he didn't have a lot of texture. I guess that's the conceit and code about objects and love interests. They're blank canvasses we ascribe our own desires upon because they make our hearts beat faster and we think we're destined.

Both Helena and Kit are familiar. They feature in other works by Fisher, just different names, faces, and places. Different flesh, same bones.  

I think twenty to thirty pages could have been cut from this book, keeping the tension, but eradicating some of the mania. By the time I got to the end, I just wanted some kind of resolution and was a little ambivalent either way.

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