Love by the Book by Melissa Pimentel reads like a high-end fashion magazine’s relationship column. A well-off woman complaining about the dating scene until she finally finds ‘love.’
This is a book I picked up a couple years ago, tried to read, and then stopped. I picked it up again recently because I’m trying to reduce my backlog. I mowed through it pretty quickly and I’ll forget about it just as fast.
This is the first book in a long time that I’ve flipped to the last page to see the ending because I was so frustrated with the story. I read the first line and shouted, ‘I knew it!’ because the story is that predictable.
Lauren is a single, 29-year-old American woman living in London and is looking for a relationship. Well, she claims ‘relationship’ but I’m pretty sure it’s just ‘sex’ for two-thirds of the book. Frustrated with her traditional ways, she turns to a series of dating-books to help her find a boyfriend. The novel follows her over less than a year, with every month using a new book, as she attempts to find love.
She struggles with the caricatures of men she encounters in “humorous” ways. She explains her actions to her friends and colleagues, which they all find ridiculous. She resists the charm of her old fling Adrian who is apparently so hot she can’t resist his touch.
Honestly, there isn’t much plot besides ‘finding a bf’ and ‘slice of life.’ Things ramp up at the end because of family drama and revealing Lauren’s “dramatic” past. Besides that, really not much.
It’s a well-written, more-or-less interesting story. I like Lauren because she’s shallow, petty, sex-driven, and smokes a lot. It’s so uncommon to see a smoking character, especially a woman, so I found it really refreshing (even if I don’t approve of smoking).
I like the concept. A woman so desperate she’ll use hacky self-help guides to find guys. And she’s not shy about it. I can appreciate that.
The book explores a lot of sexuality and Lauren’s comfort levels. Another thing I can appreciate. The real world isn’t all lovey-dovey pecks on the cheek and missionary position.
It’s solid. It presents a story in an above average manner.
The secondary character Adrian is incredibly frustrating. Mostly because Lauren keeps chasing after him. I’m glad she eventually kicks him to the curve at the end, but I hate that it took her so long. She was that desperate for dick.
This really is a ‘slice of life’ kind of book because so little happens. It’s just a woman chasing dates via different methods. Only in the last third do things “happen.” There is family drama back in her hometown, so she flies back to help. While there, she runs into her ex-husband and I guess this is what the book considers “the climax.”
I won’t say I didn’t like it, because it was so obvious and predictable, but the ‘bad’ part of the book is who she ends up with.
The book sets up all the men Lauren dates with pseudonyms. Instead of names like ‘Nick’ or ‘Justin’ they have nicknames like ‘Frisco’ and ‘Bike Guy.’ Obviously, this is done because she goes through them so quickly, and it’s a means of showing how uncommitted she is. THAT SAID, it’s so obvious who she gets with in the end because he’s one of three male characters with a name!
What I find frustrating about this book, as I do with the relationship sections of Elle Magazine, is that it’s upper-class white women in their early 30s bitching about all the good shit they have. I remember reading an Elle Magazine article about a DOCTOR being unfilled in her life and then moved to fucking Thailand or something to write blogs. FUCK YOU. YOU WERE A DOCTOR IN VANCOUVER MAKING GOOD MONEY AND HELPING PEOPLE. Or another article about an American woman meeting a smoking hot French guy and then complaining about living in Europe but still only knowing one language. DOUBLE FUCK YOU. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I WANT TO LIVE IN FRANCE??
So yeah, Lauren is 29, living in London WITH A NICE SOUNDING JOB, dating all these guys, but she’s still bitching. Talk about an unsympathetic character.
A true middle of the road kind of novel. I would call it just above average because of Lauren. She’s likeable, but I’m not sympathetic to her situation. I would recommend this to anyone who wants an untraditional ‘romance’ story.
It’s a quick read. Someone could probably finish it on a 3+ hour plane trip and not feel bad about leaving the book in their seat as they disembark the flight.
6/10. Just above average.