Book Review #20: Loved
Author: Kimberly Novosel
Days to Read: 1 week
Companion Tea: Chamomile
Synopsis (as taken from Barnes & Noble):
Kim Carlson is a quiet, optimistic dreamer when she trades in the golden fields of her youth for the busy big city streets of her future. She leaves behind a life of Sunday mass, good friends and homework for a world where skipping class, drinking, and friends who leave her alone on her birthday are the norm. On the road to building a career in the music industry and searching for true love, she instead finds loneliness, betrayal and heartache.
Just as she falls in love with the kind of man who would never break her heart and things are falling delightfully into place, everything is torn apart “like a shack in a hurricane.” Kim is faced with a choice: quit believing in the possibility of love and happiness, or fight for the woman she wants to be and the love she wants to have. Kim overcomes each setback with increasing grace and wisdom, proving that sometimes the wrong choices can lead us to the right places.
My Thoughts: You may remember back in the summer I interviewed Kimberly as a preview to her debut novel. And I was pleased to see the enchanting lady I spoke with translated onto the pages of her book.
As a backer for her book, I received a copy from her in the mail to read. Finally as exams passed and the busy holidays were winding down, I settled into Loved, anxious to see what it was all about. From the prologue, I was hooked. Having been let down at my most recent birthday party (less than half of the people who promised to come showed up), I could instantly relate to protagonist Kim’s 20th birthday party experience. Having such a low turn out to an event that means a lot to you puts everything into perspective and makes you re-think everything — am I really liked? Have I offended anyone as of late? Why doesn’t anyone care about me like they care about others? All those questions rush through your mind and it’s hard to see yourself for who you really are.
But as the story moved along, I began finding it harder and harder to relate to Kim. As each relationship began with vigour and got lost in the dust, I started feeling sorry for Kim. She put so much of herself into finding her other half, that she lost sight of who she was. I’ve never been in that type of situation before. Sure, I’ve had failed relationships — but none of them lasted longer than three weeks, so I didn’t have as much of an emotional connection to them as Kim did. As she went from guy to guy, I started feeling less and less sorry for her. There is nothing wrong with being single and being yourself, and yet she just couldn’t understand that. It frustrated me and I started dreading what she’d get herself into next. Maybe I’ve just been lucky — I’ve only had one serious boyfriend that I’m currently with — but I ended up not relating to Kim as much as I had wanted to, which saddened me. I had been looking so forward to seeing myself in Kimberly’s book, just as other readers had done, but that just wasn’t happening. I also couldn’t relate to the whole religious side of the book. I am by no means a Catholic like Kim, so when she referred to God or talked about the bible, etc., I couldn’t jump on the boat and pray with her. As much as I wanted to.
Characters and religion aside though, I loved Novosel’s writing style. She has such an easy, fluent and engaging voice, that even though I couldn’t relate to Kim, I still wanted to read. I’m also a big visual person — I often choose books based on their book covers alone, and I would have chosen this book had I come across it at a book store. It’s simple and yet inviting, but doesn’t give away too much. Novosel offers a fresh take on the age-old “love yourself” campaign, and it didn’t feel forced. It felt real. I loved the fact that the story didn’t end happily ever after; instead it had a satisfying, and yet unsatisfying, ending. Much like life. Life isn’t cookie-cutter or perfect or “happily ever after.” It’s always evolving — going from person-to-person, job-to-job, city-to-city — always bringing you one step closer to a finale. And like Novosel explains, sometimes in the end all you really need to do is love yourself.
“Unfortunately, he still hadn’t asked for my number, or a date, or my hand in marriage, and my drink was getting low.”
“I was girly and friendly and my family life was happy but many days I felt like I was on the inside what Chase was on the outside. I always believed I was a happy person with a sad soul. I felt like I had had tragedy in my life when I hadn’t. Somehow, without having experienced what he had, his scars resonated with me.”
“I thought about how the past can become so small. An entire day, 24 separate, heavy hours, becomes the size of a tiny brown leaf falling from a tree. Before you know it, a whole year is just a pile of dead leaves on the ground. The year or so I’d spent in love with Chad was starting to feel so long ago, swept away by the wind. I knew that this year would soon feel far away too.”
My Rating: 7.5/10