My rating: 3 of 5 stars
F*ck Love is pretty much the first book I’ve read of Tarryn Fisher’s (‘pretty much’ because I have read Never Never, which she co-authored) and it gave me a good look at Fisher’s writing style and the reason that so many readers love, not just her books, but the author herself. Her writing is engaging in a way that forced me to keep reading and barely stop let alone breathe until I was finished. I read this book within 24 hours. I’ve been addicted to books before, but this was a bit different. It felt as though the main character, Helena, was telling me her story all in one anxious breath with barely a toilet break allowed (and indeed, I did hold in my pee for two hours because I kept telling myself that I’d just get to the next chapter before going to the toilet – that happened at least five times).
Despite the need I felt to keep reading, I liked this book but did not love it. My main issues (as is often the case nowadays) were the plot holes and inconsistencies – these things are mistakes that make stories less believable and less authentic and almost always cause me to give a lower rating than I would have otherwise. Here are some that I picked up on in F*ck Love (feel free to comment if you have an explanation or correction):
NOTE: I read the iBook version on my phone so page numbers may not match your own version.
* Page 263-264 Della says: ‘What the hell do you mean you’re moving to Washington?’ But then on Page 268 we have this: ‘I haven’t told anyone but my parents where I’m going.’ No need to explain this one further really, obviously a change was made at some point and this part needed to be adjusted but was missed.
* Page 316 Helena says to Greer: ‘He’s dating my friend,’ I tell her. ‘I don’t know him very well; they hadn’t been dating for too long before I left.’ But we know that Kit and Della have in fact been dating for at least 8 months as we were told when Helena, June, Kit and Della all go to an estate sale back in Chapter Eleven. I’m sure that Helena is just trying to play down how well she knows Kit, and that makes sense, but the last part ‘they hadn’t been dating for too long before I left’ doesn’t really add up. We could argue that ‘too long’ could mean just about anything but I think in this case that it’s really just a mistake that wasn’t picked up when editing.
* Kit and Greer confuse me. Sometimes it seems as though they still communicate and are on decent terms such as when Kit apparently asks Greer to bring Helena along to his cousin’s wedding, but then at other times it’s as though they don’t communicate at all like when Greer shows up at Kit’s apartment and asks him why he didn’t tell her he was back. While Greer is at his apartment she also tells him that their dog died … how long ago did this happen? Obviously it was before Helena arrived in town otherwise there would be mention of a dog living there too, so why didn’t Greer tell Kit about the dog at the wedding or even before then when they had obviously communicated about said wedding?
* Page 572 ‘A month after Kit’s swift departure back to Florida, a package arrives for me at the cannery …’ but by this time, Helena has returned to Washington after being back in Florida for months where she took care of baby Annie and Della, so this doesn’t make sense at all unless Kit came back to Washington at some point and then left again, but really I just think it’s a mistake.
* I also started questioning the absence of Kit’s family, I mean why didn’t they appear at some point to meet Della especially when it’s discovered that she is having Kit’s baby? And why didn’t Kit and Della visit Port Townsend so that Della could meet his family and even meet up with Helena? Even though Helena and Della aren’t on great terms, I feel as though Della is the kind of person that would be really pushy about meeting Kit’s family especially considering how much she wants to stay with him. And, if she was worried about Helena and her relationship with Kit that would be all the more reason for Della to go along to Port Townsend to make sure that Helena isn’t trying to insert herself into his family. That brings me to my next question, which is, why hasn’t Helena come across any of Kit’s family members in Port Townsend? If it is such a small town, and especially with her being so friendly with his ex, Greer, wouldn’t she bump into some of his family at some point? Or I’m sure that there would have been a time where Helena was with Greer and had Greer point someone out saying: ‘Oh, by the way, that lady over there is Kit’s mother’.
Here are some thoughts on some other parts of the book that weren’t necessarily mistakes or plot holes but things that I questioned nonetheless:
* The cult leader, Muslim. I’m not sure why he was even in the story. I had no idea what was going on at the end of the book when he drove up in a car, had a quick chat to Helena and then took off again. Sure, after all that happens it’s said that he is a cult leader and Helena almost ran off with him, but it was just weird and I didn’t think it added anything to the story at all. Perhaps his purpose was to force Helena to question her feelings for Kit and steer her off course, but it could’ve been the homeless man that gave her a cigarette that did this rather than some cult leader that we’re introduced to near the end who only adds confusion to the story.
* I’m kind of going backward here but the dream that sparked all the change in her life felt pretty insignificant by the end. I was almost convinced for about half of the story that the ‘dream’ was somewhat real, in that Kit had actually grabbed her hand and then forced this ‘dream’ on her, and I am almost certain that there was somewhere better that the story could have gone if that idea were explored.
* Helena’s crazy, awkward personality felt too forced. I really like a good quirky character but it felt like a bit too much in this story. Plus, throughout we kept getting told how boring, predictable and reliable Helena always is, yet I don’t really see any evidence of that. She’s always running late or completely blowing off the people in her life, sometimes for weeks on end, and she forgets plans. Maybe we could put this down to the fact that when we begin this story she experiences something (the dream) that changes her, but even so, her craziness (sock drawer, constant Harry Potter references, always running away, talking to herself in public) seems to be who she is and that feels contradictory to the person that we are told she is.
* A message to Kit – Why oh why did you not use protection when having sex with Della if you felt so unsure about her? These kinds of things (indecision, stupid decisions, inability to end a relationship) do actually happen in real life so I can’t really fault them being written into the story, but god damn they bugged me!
This review got really damn big so I’ll just say that I did enjoy this book but I would’ve liked it much better without the mistakes and plot holes. Oh, and since reading this book, I keep thinking about socks …