how to love

January 5, 2014

why i read it: i remember reading about it on some web site. and the author rec on the back sold me.

how to love is epic. i crushed so hard on this book. a roller-coaster ride with all the euphoric highs and stomach-dropping lows of falling in love. the writing is as beautiful as the love story. i adored it (siobhan vivian).

what i liked: she and roger had introduced my father and my mother to begin with, and when my mother died of complications from multiple sclerosis when i was four and my father was too busy raging at god to think about lunches and clean socks, lydia was the one who  hired soledad to move in with us, not realizing that she'd found him a second wife just like she'd found him the first (p. 10).

he tended bar at the restaurant and showed up to class when he felt like it and ignored me, for the most part: not in a malicious way but in the way you ignore a message on the side of the building you see every day. i was part of the scenery, blending in, so familiar as to be completely invisible to the naked eye (p. 11).

it was frustratingly dark out here; fine for brooding, sure, but for all the world i wanted to pull him into the light and just... look (p. 36).

suddenly, even the backyard felt sinister, familiar places gone strange and threatening in the dark (p. 40).

we were sweethearts. it's a thing that happened. it's over now. it's fine (p. 44).

shelby flew back to broward in the middle of her freshman year to help me deliver hannah, memorizing all the bones in the human body between my contractions and charming the nurses into helping her with her homework (63).

she looks like she wants to say something else, and for a moment i almost ask her how it's possible that my father can eat a friendly dinner with sawyer's parents, size up the culinary competition, but can't find it in his heart to look at me (p. 80).

he picked up shelby from work every night for two weeks before i realized he wasn't doing it to make shelby's life easier.

"you realize i'm not fun," i told him, the first time he asked me out. "i have a kid. i'm not fun. even before i had a kid, i wasn't fun" (p. 87).

"you haven't wanted anything to do with me or hannah in years," i tell her shrilly. i think of broken dams, walls closing in. "you don't talk to me. nobody talks to me. about me, maybe, but maybe not, even. i wouldn't know because this is first sunday since hannah was born that i've been invited to dinner" (p. 255).

cade told me once that the night our mother died, our father sat in the pitch-dark of our old, cracking house and played piano until the dawn came up orange and dripping behind him. scales, cade told me. scales and mozart and billy joel and anything else he could think of, melodies made up out of the thin air that no one, including my father himself, could remember once morning finally broke (p. 278).

what sucked: pretty much the whole of it. i tabbed a bunch of pages near the beginning, but when i went back to review them, i couldn't for the life of me figure out why i'd turned down the corners. it never captivated me.

having said all that: i did not crush so hard on this book. and if it's a roller coaster, it's one of those baby ones that crawls along the slightly wavy tracks. there's no euphoria, no gut-wrenching drama. beauty? meh. not so much. it was really kind of disappointing. but i wanted to finish it.

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