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Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are…
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Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of… (2011)

by Anonymous

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You'll find that the first thing that grabs your attention looking at this book, if it's not the very long title, and if you are around my age, is that the cover, font and formatting are all designed to evoke a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. There are little insets telling you at the end of each page or two section to go to a different date in the story, and describing a harrowing adventure on a planet of super-intelligent space ants after your ship was shot down. It's even got little drawings to help flesh out this story... but then, that's not the story you really get at all. It's just the frame.

No, the story you actually get is actually a tumultuous years-long affair with a girl named Anne. From the beginning, the author (and you, since it's written in the second person, like any good CYOA book) knows that it's probably not going to work out - Anne is too cool in some ways, but mostly, it's that she's an alcoholic, and gets the relatively geeky author into any number of bad situations. It's a roller coaster ride of a relationship presented in short vignettes, intense and different from the rest of the author's life, but painful and embarrassing and gross, as well, and just harrowing. The writing has to be terse and effecting for this to work, and wry when it calls for it, and it hits all of these notes. You get a lot of emotion in a slim little tome.

You wonder when you're reading the story whether there's a bit of a message in the date jumping CYOA style presentation - no matter what order you go in, the relationship will end badly. But the author's note up front tells you that you should just read it through straight, and you should listen; it makes the most sense. Perhaps more than that, then you'll get the right tension between the little nostalgic buzz from the format, combined with a soft retelling of a hard relationship. You know what you're getting into from the title, certainly. It's a cute little book, eye-catching with some solid writing. You feel surprisingly cool when you're reading it, somehow. It's a bit hard to find, but you'll probably find it's worth it. Both for the presentation and the writing. But unlike the anonymous author's relationship with Anne, it's quite short; you'll find that it's all over in an hour or so. It's an interesting hour, though. ( )
  Capfox | Sep 24, 2012 |
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