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Love by the Book: A Novel by Melissa…

Love by the Book: A Novel

by Melissa Pimentel

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I have missed the more chic-lit kind of fiction. It's always so funny, cute, weird, and embarrassing.

Lauren is an American in London. She has a failed relationship behind her and she it not looking for anything big. Just a bit of fun. But man, guys are so serious and run if they think you want more. She was fun and we could totally have been friends. And that is all I want from my main character.

But right, the story. So after the latest guy runs out she decides on this experiment. To read relationship guides and follow them for a month at a time. Yes hilarious. Because some of those, ha. She follows one made for men, one written in the 19th century. Those poor guys (if she dates them for more than one month) must think she is schizophrenic.

At the sidelines is her roommate, her on and off guy, and a few other minor parts. This is after all about her and the men she finds one way or another. That last way, ok, do not follow any more guides is all I have to say.

Funny, and the kind of books that is just so light that the pages move on their own. Just what I needed. And hey it even has a happy ending for everyone. ( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
3.5 stars
LOVE BY THE BOOK is the humorous exploits of Lauren Cunningham, American ex-pat, living her fantasy, or attempting to, in London. Lauren isn’t looking for nor does she want a relationship. She wants to be foot loose & fancy free to explore all the English male bounty she crossed an ocean for.

LOVE BY THE BOOK is a comical dating romp through the early years of the new millennium with the dubious assistance of dating guides and rule books of the past and fairly recent. Employed by the Science Museum it’s only natural Lauren would take a scientific approach to her dating woes. Each chapter is dedicated to a dating/relationship book and month. The end of each chapter lists the test subject, results, and Lauren’s final thoughts as she summarizes the experience.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to use a guide to navigate those treacherous dating waters? Why not try reading LOVE BY THE BOOK and vicariously giving them a go via Lauren first? After all, her adventures are loosely based on the author’s real life experiences that she noted for posterity in her now (sadly) defunct blog.
For readers delectation Lauren has chosen:

The Rules
The Technique of the Love Affair: By a Gentlewoman (1928) Dorothy Parker quipped that if she’d read this earlier she might have been “successful rather than just successive.” As a huge Dorothy Parker fan this has certainly piqued my interest & I’ll be looking for The Technique of the Love Affair to read for grins & giggles.
Not Tonight, Mr. Right (aka Close Your Legs, Open Your Heart~ Lauren’s title)
The Rules of the Game
The Art of Dating
Belle de Jour’s Guide to Men
Manners for Women
& Find a Husband After 35

Will Lauren find what she’s searching for? Are dating guides effective? What life lessons does she learn along the way? Is there a HEA for Lauren and her friends? You’ll have to discover that for yourself.
LOVE BY THE BOOK is playful and entertaining. Whether you’re still searching for that elusive whatever floats your boat or you’re snuggly and content; Lauren’s experiments in “off the beaten path” London are a lively escape and quite the vicarious thrill regardless of your status.
Reviewed for Miss Ivy’s Book Nook, Manic Readers, & Novels Alive TV ( )
  ivydtruitt | Feb 15, 2015 |
For more reviews, gifs, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

When I got a review request for Love by the Book, I couldn’t resist the comparison marketing of Bridget Jones’ Diary meets Girls, despite the unenthused most-liked reviews. Sure, I’ve been tricked by comparison marketing, but this sounded too awesome to pass up. And it was. The comparison marketing was no lie in this case. For those like me who are predominantly reading YA these days, I’d also say it has quite a lot in common with The DUFF. Love by the Book is funny, sex-positive, and delightful.

The title Love by the Book is a bit misleading. Lauren isn’t looking for love when she takes to a new dating guide every month; she’s looking for a casual sex partner. Lauren left a serious relationship when she moved to London from her hometown in Maine, and she’s not looking for another. However, none of the men she finds to sleep with believe that she’s not trying to entrap them into matrimony. Out of a combination of curiosity and why-the-fuck-not, Lauren decides to try a different dating guide every month to see if any of them can get her what she wants.

While I was prepared for this to be completely silly, awkward, and over-the-top, much like Bridget Jones, it’s actually pretty low key. Yes, she gets into some ludicrous scenarios, but it’s not absurd. Though Lauren doesn’t have high expectations for the dating guides, she’s also not close-minded. She approaches the whole thing with a spirit of scientific inquiry. Even when she thinks it’s bullshit, she gives each one her all, refusing to dismiss them out of hand. I think the lack of judgment that she brings to the table from the outset is really refreshing and makes the book work. It’s also cool that she tries a book aimed at a male audience as well.

As expected, there’s a bit of romance in Love by the Book, but that’s really not what the book is about at all. It’s more about dating and finding what’s right for you. There’s so little judgment in this book. When a friend confesses that she’s been getting into BDSM, Lauren doesn’t want to do it herself, but she’s totally supportive. The attitude in Pimentel’s debut novel is very much that anything is fine as long as you’re comfortable with it and it’s making you happy. The attitude is so very healthy, and it’s not the sort of book where all that matters is that she finds a guy at the end.

Lauren, no matter what guide she’s using, manages to remain very much herself. She’s always in control and making her own choices. She doesn’t blame mistakes on others, nor does she allow anything she doesn’t want to happen just because a book says so. It’s also nice that, since she’s not looking for a lasting connection, she’s not too upset when things go awry. Basically, any month in which she finds someone good to have sex with she chalks up as a win.

There’s one month where Lauren goes back to the US to visit family. This adds a lot of depth. Lauren’s family had been quite distant in the book, for reasons you find out shortly before the trip. The non-spoilery version is that there’s stuff she’s not ready to deal with. When her sister’s marriage to Sue hits a rough patch, Lauren hurries home, even though she’s not ready to face the music. I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about the break from the rest of the novel, but it ended up being very emotionally gratifying.

I had only two relatively minor qualms. Though my sophisticated research on Goodreads indicates that the author lived in the US for longer than she’s lived in the UK, Lauren occasionally drops slang that’s very much not American. She might just be blending, but she also sometimes complains about how hard it is to be understood, which I didn’t really see backed up by the text.

The ending is rushed. Though I was totally on board for that ship to set sail at the end, it was half-assed. I do think they’re a good match, but I also don’t know why he was into her to that degree at that point. I’m totally willing to roll with it, though, since they were cute in my headcanon and because I liked the book so much. The romance did, however, feel very tacked onto the end.

Love by the Book was fantastic and took me totally by surprise. I hope to see more contemporary novels like this and Radhika Sanghani’s Virgin, which I read last year. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Feb 8, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143127284, Paperback)

A laugh-out-loud debut novel that will delight fans of Bridget Jones’s Diary and HBO’s Girls

Love by the Book charts a year in the life of Lauren Cunningham, a beautiful, intelligent, and unlucky-in-love twenty-eight-year-old American. Feeling old before her time, Lauren moves to London in search of the fab single life replete with sexy Englishmen. But why can’t she convince the men she’s seeing that she really isn’t after anything more serious than seriously good sex? Determined to break the curse, Lauren turns her love life into an experiment: each month she will follow a different dating guide until she discovers the science behind being a siren. Lauren will follow The Rules, she’ll play The Game, and along the way she’ll journal her (mis)adventures and maybe even find someone worth holding on to. Witty, gritty, and very true to life, Love by the Book will have you in stitches.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:36 -0400)

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