LOVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD Hardcover – 2000
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Top customer reviews
This book however still manages to be light and enjoyable, when you put it down, you feel both relaxed and moved by the plot and the characters. It may be hard to explain but basically it is a very good combination of real, thus not always pleasant emotions, and bits of comedy.
Read it, it is very impressive. Shame about the misleading cover.
I was suprised by what happened with Patrick, as you don't get to know the full story until about half way through the book. I like books that suprise me, so this was great. I didn't expect that at all.
And Will..... well I think I fell for him a bit myself!
Calman certainly can write, and there's enough plot ingredients here - career deliberations, family problems dating back to childhood, misadventures in love - to keep the plot going. There were scenes - Bella's realisation of her love of art, some of her later, fraught conversations with Will, her developing friendship with Will's mother - that I found very enjoyable and sometimes moving. But somehow, for some reason, the book didn't grab me. I didn't find Bella's scatty personality and rather rambling narrative all that appealing, and I found the plot (and Bella and Will's refusal just to sit down and sensibly talk through their issues) somewhat frustrating. In particular, I couldn't believe that Alessandra could be so calculatedly spiteful to her daughter, whatever she'd suffered - her appalling behaviour meant that what happened later on seemed very sentimental. OK, the twist about what had happened to Patrick was clever, but Bella's early behaviour didn't ring true once we'd learnt about it. And I found I couldn't care as much as I was meant to about Will and Bella's love affair as I was meant to - their conversations were too repetitive, and neither were developed in sufficient detail. This was a novel where there was an awful lot of small-talk but where psychological explanation of characters was somewhat lacking.
Nevertheless, it was a perfectly pleasant read - and there was enough of interest in the plot and enough beauty in the writing to encourage me to try more of Calman's novels. I didn't get on with 'Lessons For a Sunday Father' when I tried it, but have her other two and look forward to reading them.
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