Whatever You Love Paperback – 6 Mar 2014
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Doughty creates a haunting, heart-wrenching portrait. (Psychologies)
The opening chapter is electrifyingly painful. From then on the reader is spellbound ... the book is hauntingly believable ... so powerful is the evocation of raw emotion that, the day after i finished it, I woke up with that same feeling. It was some minutes before I realised I was still inside Doughty's book. (A N Wilson Readers Digest)
It is an extraordinarly opening, written with such taut understatement that the mother's grief is given a visceral power: we empathise with it immediately ... Whatever You Love is a masterfully constructed novel, at once gripping and tender ... The emotional power of Doughty's prose is such that the reader is complicit in Laura's journey from loss to retribution. Doughty forces us to confront the darkness that lies beneath the skin. The result is a brilliant and brutal novel that continues to unsettle long after the final page has been turned. (Observer)
A stunning tale of grief and the lengths to which a woman must go to come to terms with it. (Woman and Home)
Brilliant, disturbing, heart-wrenching. (Daily Mirror)
Whatever You Love, from Louise Doughty - the bestselling author of Apple Tree Yard - is a heart-wrenching psychological thriller about bereavement and revenge, desire and infidelity, for fans of Gone Girl, The Husband's Secret and Before I Go to Sleep.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm not generally a fan of thrillers but this is so much more. Intelligent and well-written, it drags you kicking and screaming into its angry passionate heartbroken maelstrom. It would make a great TV adaptation - and I'm guessing that's why it didn't make the Orange shortlist - it does have that made-for-TV feel. Most likely it didn't come across as literary enough for the judges. All I know is I didn't want to go to bed I was so gripped by it, and it was the first thing I thought of when I woke in the morning. A fantastic read and I was on the verge of giving it five stars (I award this accolade rarely in proportion to the amount I read) but thought I would reflect on it a bit first. This was a useful check because after a week or so it had lost a lot of its effect and it didn't stay in my head. Its power is in its urgency and immediacy.
I would definitely recommend it though. An absolute page-turner.
The book synopsis on the jacket focusses on the vengeance that Laura wants to take against the man who killed Betty. While this is certainly a strong element of the story, it's somewhat misleading as the story is really about the relationship between Laura and her husband David. Although the book isn't quite what the jacket blurb suggests, it is still a riveting read and I stayed up late one night to read the last 100 pages.
It's a book that made me think - why were people behaving as they were, how do people deal with grief and loss, how perspective changes how a relationship appears to be. Doughty has a lovely realistic feel to her writing; there's a line where she describes a scene where a jar of mayonnaise is thrown and smashes and Doughty writes "Why does mayonnaise go translucent when it gets warm? Am I the only one who finds that sinister?" I just loved that simple observation (and I also think it's sinister!). There are other lovely simple observations that make the characters seen more real.
I'll definitely be looking at Doughty's other books. A recommended read if you like psychological thrillers/suspense that don't follow a standard plot.
However, the book's main failing was that the author seemed not to have had the confidence to make the book just that: an exploration of grief and a study of a relationship. Instead, we get a very poorly developed revenge sub-plot, which is farcical, poorly developed and never ignites. Simultaneously the author goes off on yet another ill-advised tangent with the sub-plot of the letters; again, lacking in realism, worthy of a bad made-for-TV movie and demanding a level of suspension of disbelief that I found impossible (the number of times I was rolling my eyes and saying "Oh come ON!"). As a result, the book seems not to know what it wants to be and I think it suffers from that.
And finally, Faber & Faber, get your act together and use some decent copyeditors and proofreaders. The book was littered with spelling mistakes and typos, which I found distracting and which undermined the book. You are left thinking that if the publisher doesn't care about the book enough, why should we?
The blurb though, indicates it is a story of revenge. Indeed it is, but the story convolutes into the story of her relationship with David (Betty's father / Laura's husband). This confused me a little - I felt both stories were told well but neither developed fully - I found other details clumsy and difficult to reconcile (I don't want to say what as it would spoil the plot); the end felt rushed and for me, unsatisfying.
Intelligent prose, shocking in places, with a flash forward / flash back timeline makes this a genuinely captivating read though, and one I would recommend.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Louise Doughty is an interesting author and having enjoyed Apple Tree Yard I thought this novel although centring round such a distressing theme would be a worthwhile read. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Greta
Loved Appletree Yard and bought this book by the same author on the back of it.....first chapter ok, and a harrowing subject matter (the death of a little daughter).... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kj halligan
As with Apple Tree Yard, I loved this book, and couldn't put it down. Yet I found it a bit confusing. Is it a story of grief, of love, a thriller? Read morePublished 1 month ago by MW39 CFG
Really enjoyed Apple Tree Yard so ordered this and was disappointed.Published 6 months ago by heron