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on 29 July 2009
I've never experienced this writer before, but I am aware of the Lemony Snickets series of books, and have to admit that the back cover blurb and the very unusual 'soundbite' from Dave Eggers (namely "Anyone who lives to read gorgeous writing will want to lick this book and sleep with it between their legs") did crack a smile, so I gave it a chance.

There is no question, this IS a gorgeously written book, filled with stories on the subject of love in its every form. The prose is poetic and the stories are intricately positioned to reflect characters & locations which frequently transpose from one story to the other.

Some of the stories are definitely tragic (the one about the two lifelong friends sharing one final night out before one of them is destined to lose her life due to a rare & terminal disease was suitably moving without being tawdry). Others are very comical (A tale about an average man who everyone loves once they meet him, also made me smile, yet did not feel uncomfortable in the fact that two of the man's admirers were a local postman & his son). What surprised me is that each tale is well-balanced. Tragic tales are countered with a dollop of humour, while comic tales have an element of loss & pain.

This is not a love story, or even a number of short love stories in the traditional sense. It is not merely about boy meets girl, but genuinely explores the subject of love in every form imagineable. Wherever love can be found, whether in a taxi, or by the swimming pool, irrespective of the form of love...lust, devotion, loyalty, worship or family ties, Handler does well to explore each way that we all love, and are loved.

Now, don't get me wrong. While this is a fine literary read, I've yet to cover this book with saliva or place it between my thighs before lights out. for three reasons.

Firstly, it's just falling short of something. Maybe it's the fact that because the characters seem to appear in different stories, either as older/younger versions of themselves, or completely different altogether. Names are juggled around, and just when you think you know a character, they turn out to be not the person you were thinking of. It's all a bit like Handler watched a few too many David Lynch films. As a result, you never really get to know the characters as well as you'd like.

Secondly, there seems to be a complete story arc running in the background, but things are only briefly mentioned. I'm wondering if the author would have been better off biting the bullet and just going for an all encompassing story.

Thirdly, my copy is a library book, and I think the librarians would have a thing to say about a book I've violated with my bodily fluids. ;-)
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on 11 April 2016
If you've read A Series of Unfortunate Events and feel like that means this book will be similar then you would be mistaken.
However, it is still brilliant in it's own way.
Handler's writing style here is a lot more surreal than his more popular works yet it really suits him.
The books consists of many short stories each titled with a different adverb; the first story got me hooked.
This collection is more grown up and more bizarre than what you might be expecting from the mind that birthed A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I stand by my view that it is endearing, wacky and full of heart.
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on 3 December 2014
I read this over half a decade ago when I was in a struggling relationship. Rather apt perhaps. I've been meaning to revisit this book for some time and came across it on my bookshelf today.

I actually remember little about the individual stories but do remember that I enjoyed this book immensely.I've always preferred the effect of prose rather than the actual story itself. This book left a nice emotional dent in my soul, rather like the warm and hairy indent in a cushion recently vacated by a cat. It's the sort of book to remember with feeling rather than plot.
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on 27 February 2014
The first story in this collection 'Immediatley' is a brilliant, hilarious short about love and I would highly recomend everyone to read it- however do not buy the whole book based on this story, as I did. I was so disappointed and in my opinion every story fell flat. It was difficult to read and appeared to be lazily writen, I think the concept is interesting but the book just really doesn't work.
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on 31 October 2015
Some clever links and overlaps, but ultimately a book I found irritating and dissatisfying.
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on 28 November 2007
I never usually describe books as being 'cute', but this is one I really had to. Full of lots of different short stories, that are all linked somewhere along the line, this book is guaranteed to make you smile. Whilst some of the stories can be a little slow, there are a few that really touch you and make you think. Well worth a read.
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on 19 August 2008
I have enjoyed several books by this author but found Adverbs a bit of a let-down.
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