The Love Verb – Jane Green – 9/10

“It is about women remembering who they were before they had children.”

Callie Perry has it all: a handsome, successful, although not flawless husband, wonderful children, a slightly wayward little sister, a successful photography business and generally a life full of love and wonder and laughter. So when her breast cancer returns as neoplastic meningitis (brain-related cancer), those she loves are shattered, but rally around her.

Normally I wouldn’t pick this sort of book up, being a bit of a romance/chick lit snob, but I’d seen it positively reviewed around the place and it was just the ticket for a brain-free read. As you know, I didn’t fare all that well with that bastion of chick lit, The Horse Whisperer. This, as you can see from the 9/10 rating, was a whole different receptacle of aqueous-dwelling vertebrates.

I loved pretty much all of the characters. Callie was a bit perfect, Stella was a bit bratty younger sister-ish, Mason clearly had an agenda, but I cared about them, I wanted their lives to keep being fluffy and pink. I loved the crazy earth mother Honor, and was pleased that Green chose to include enough back story that we could see where she came from.

And Green does not hold back with the heartbreak when the plot gets going. In a sense, there isn’t much plot – lovely woman gets sick: effect on family. But Callie’s illness is chronicled in enough detail to be very credible (it did not surprise me that Callie was based on a real life woman known to the author), but not so much that it’s gory. Think Before I Die.

Plus it gets several extra points out of ten for including a recipe at the end of every chapter: Chocolate Chestnut Truffle Cake, Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle, Ginger Almond Chicken. Seriously, I’m going to have to hold onto this book for a while just so I can try out the recipes!

Additional info:
This was a personal copy bought, against all my principles, at the supermarket. In my defence, it was not Sainsbury’s, who won this year’s Chain Bookseller of the Year.
Publisher: Penguing, paperback, 401 pages.
Order this from Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards giveaways.
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5 thoughts on “The Love Verb – Jane Green – 9/10

  1. The Best of 2011 | Reading With Tea 1 January 2012 at 5:06 pm Reply

    […] A Red Herring Without Mustard, Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test, Jane Green’s The Love Verb, Casey Hill’s Taboo, Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger, Elle Newmark’s The […]

  2. […] The. Time. I look back on books and think why did I rate it so highly (e.g. The Love Verb) or so low (e.g. The Hand That First Held Mine) – they seem so different after 6 […]

  3. […] or where I’ve given an excellent rating to a book which suffers on critical re-examination (e.g. The Love Verb, which I really enjoyed, but which I feel a little odd admitting to giving 9/10 – it’s not […]

  4. […] I really want to try some of these (which is how I felt about other recipes-in-novel books like The Love Verb and Miss […]

  5. […] reminded me so much of The Love Verb, that it’s not funny. Also a little bit of Helen Garner’s The Spare Room (although […]

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