Friday, June 26, 2015
Review: Love May Fail
hardcover, 416 pages
A review copy of this book was provided through TLC Book Tours
Love May Fail made me laugh as many times as it made me cry--and I stopped counting the sobs after about the fourth time.
I absolutely adored this book.
I didn't want to pick up another book for a while....because I didn't want this book to leave my heart and mind.
When Portia Kane graduated from high school, her beloved English teacher gave her (and all his students) a card, the size of a driver's license, welcoming her to the "Human Race," and advising her to "make daring choices, work hard, enjoy the ride, and remember--you become exactly whomever you choose to be." So when Portia ends up eighteen years later, crouching in her own bedroom closet with a gun, it's safe to say that her life has not gone as planned. Instead of getting her degree in English and writing a novel, Portia has married a pornographer with a sex addiction and hasn't written a word in years.
Love May Fail, by Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook, takes the reader on a wild ride. I won't even attempt to summarize the plot of the novel; I'll just say that Love May Fail is as epically messy as real life, and filled with characters who are both deeply flawed and deeply lovable. When Portia catches her husband in flagrante delicto, she begins a quest--first to find, and then to save, her high school English teacher, Nate Vernon.
I don't want to ruin this book for anyone by saying why Mr. Vernon (in Portia's mind) needs saving. I will tell you that he has a one-eyed poodle named Albert Camus.
I will tell you that Portia's quest takes her from Florida, where she has lived in luxury, to South Jersey, where her mother, a hoarder, lives among piles of detritus and stacks of Diet Coke with Lime. There Portia rediscovers her love for heavy metal bands, meets a metal-head five-year-old named Tommy, and Tommy's former heroin-addict uncle, Chuck, a bartender and aspiring teacher. Along the way Portia encounters an unusual nun with a feisty attitude, and takes on tasks worthy of the term "Quixotic."
Love May Fail is about the epic and disastrous ways in which we humans can screw up, but also about how basic decency and goodness can prevail. Love may fail, but author Matthew Quick succeeded in making me fall in love with his characters, and with their stories. It's not easy being a member of the human race. But Love May Fail is a funny, deeply generous, and ultimately beautiful look at the perils and pleasures of being human.