All of you out there who share my inability to get through a day without reading for at least an hour understand the absolute necessity of this! Luckily, I was asked to read and review a kicky book that will either make you never want to date again, or conduct your own experiment into the mysteries of dating and finding the love of your life.
Love by the Book is a novel by Melissa Pimentel based on something she did while living in London in 2009: buying dating how-to books and using their methods to actually meet and date men. And that's just what Lauren Cunningham does, with a definite mixed result. Lauren moves to London after a messy break-up (which you find out more about towards the end of the novel). She finds a great roommate and a job at a museum. She's just offered her stay-over sex dude Adrian some eggs for breakfast. Because, as we all know, it's a nice thing to do and eggs are just eggs. But Adrian freaks out, thinks she's asking for a commitment, and doesn't let the door hit him in the tushy on his way out.
Lauren decides to read a dating guide each month for a year, and follow the rules in an attempt to discover A) just what works with men, and B) have lots of sex. Lauren's escapades are sometimes partially successful, but most often leave her scratching her head and thinking twice about her "study". And meanwhile, there's the guy who runs the bookstore...who thinks she's an idiot for buying those books, and with whom she has great conversations about literature and life. Could he be the one she's looking for?
Lauren is certainly a character, as well as her flatmate Lucy. I will say this novel is Bridget Jones tossed in with Sex and the City. There's plenty of booze, sexual encounters, and cigarettes. It is a fun romp and an enjoyable read. And what happens at the end of Lauren's journey? Does she figure it out, or does she give up? And what has she left behind at home?
I will say the one thing that puzzled me about the book was her past relationship with Dylan. It got a bit lost and I never really understood what exactly this relationship was until I was almost done with the novel. It really could have been left out or explained pretty directly right up front. I didn't think it had much to do with the novel as a whole but just provided a plot device for Lauren to move to London.
Valentine's day is coming up! For all those single ladies out there, spend February 14th pampering yourself, eating something good, and reading this book. It's a fun look at love and dating in 2015.
Rating: 7/10 for a clever use of dating "how-to" books put into practice. Lauren's dating experiences go from so-so to disasters to not-so-bad, but all are fun to read about!
Thanks to Penguin for a review copy!
Available in paperback and ebook.