a book that makes me happy

a couple of weeks ago at the goodwill (that's where i buy all my books, in case you're interested) i picked up a copy of love walked in by marisa de los santos mainly because i liked the cover. i'd read the back cover several times in the bookstore for the same reason, and it seemed like it might be an interesting read.
now, to be honest, i find something i like about most of the books i read. if i don't like anything, i generally stop reading and don't waste my time. even if the character development is crummy or the dialogue is confusing, i can usually get on board with the semi-interesting plot or the cheesy romance, even if they aren't literary works of genius. and i'm no literary critic (in fact, i feel quite vulnerable endorsing a book so strongly), but this book is a step above most of those (that i've read, anyway) that grace the nyt bestseller list.
so here comes the gushing...i love the way the marisa de los santos writes. i loved the way she developed her characters. i loved the way she made them real by chronicling their honest and private thought patterns. i loved the plot. i loved the way she brought feelings of fear, despair, and loss, and then foiled them with just-as-intense feelings of love, security, and home. i loved that i didn't have the entire plot completely figured out halfway through the book. i loved that it wasn't really a story about a man and a woman at all (even though you might think so at first). and i loved the way she compared the characters' thoughts, feelings, and experiences to scenes from old movies.
i spent two nights reading and reading (and getting very little sleep) and was actually a little sad when i finished. good thing there's a sequel!
and in all honesty, this book isn't a work of literature that will be remembered for years to come. most of the critics called it "chick-lit" and "melodramatic". but as i've mentioned before, i read only for enjoyment. if i try to read books because the critics liked them, or because i think they enhance my intelligence (0r ignore books i want to read because i feel they inhibit it), then i generally stop reading altogether. so, great reviews or not, i was completely entertained, and i guess that's all that matters - if the reader is satisfied.
so you probably have a little time off for the holidays - why don't you check it out? and let me know what you think. and while i'm at it, here's a little excerpt i like to get you started:

"My life - my real life - started when a man walked into it, a handsome stranger in a perfectly cut suit and yes, I know how that sounds. Or I know how it might sound, to the kind of person I used to be, one who spent her days skirting around the edges of adulthood, commitment, responsibility, accomplishment - whatever word you use describe diving into the deepest part of being human. Take your pick, they're all woefully inadequate, but they're also all we have.
If you're the kind of person I used to be, you might think that real life means going after what you want and getting it. I thought that, as I skirted those edges (and don't get me wrong, I liked that skirting; there was joy in it - most of the time, that skirting was the lightest kind of dancing), gazing into other people's real lives...like lit up houses, places in which real people did the work of real life. I believed they'd all achieved their hearts' desires or were in the process of achieving them. There. That's what I mean. I believed the process of achieving them was life.
But in the months that followed Martin's gracing of Cafe Dora's doorway, I'd figured out that a real life didn't mean attaining my heart's desire, but knowing it, meant not the satisfaction, but the longing. Knowing what you love and why, I found out, is as real as it gets."

happy reading!


B said...

Thanks for the review. I listened to Belong to Me by the same author this year and I agree she's a quite a talented writer. Oh - and I love to go to Goodwill for my books, too. It's like a treasure hunt! Blessings - B.

chelsea said...

I can't wait to read that one!
And by the way, I have found some really awesome books at the Goodwill including a collection of Longfellow poems published in 1895. So cool!