It has been a while since I have over-identified with character's in a book. At first I found myself relating to the broken nature of Grace Town. Despite her obvious depression Henry was pursuing her. In a way it felt like there was hope for us all.
Except then I found myself identifying with Henry who was chasing after a girl who was really just stringing him along for her own needs. She wasn't into him as much as she was into the healing that he provided her. The whole book she blamed him for wanting a different version of Grace, yet she was the one using him to feel a different version of herself. After they separate Grace begins to heal. This is all to the credit of Henry. Yet, Henry is now broken relying on his friends to help him to heal past the relationship that was Grace Town.
It was a beautifully written book with characters that obviously grabbed me. I do completely disagree with the book's message on love. In principle I get that it was trying to help others to see that love is what we make of it. We have to work at love like we have to work at anything else. My issue is that no one actually worked at love in this book. They all divorced. They all left. Even his parents who were pretty solid dissolved their relationship once Henry learned that there is no such thing as true love. Yet there is such thing. The point is that true love is hard work. The chemical portion of love is just passion. That is not true love. True love is the work and dedication and the choice to stay with someone despite the hard times. Even biologically this book just talked about surface love. It told teenagers everywhere that when the passion ends you have the right to leave and find something else. I do not agree with the message of love that this book portrayed. It is not a value
I do not typically read romance novels. Yet, when I saw the synopsis of The Kiss Quotient I wanted to read it so much I skipped the library wait and bought the paper version. I was mostly drawn in by the main character. She is in her 30s, does predictive analysis, and has Asperger's. Then to top it off she is drawn to martial arts and K-drama. While my K-drama obsession is non existent my Taekwondo obsession is alive and well making this the most like me character that I have ever seen.
Which is probably why this book only received four stars instead if five. That and the plot given way to sex scenes - I did mention I don't typically read romance.
I think Helen Hoang is a great author and this is an own voices book written while the author was receiving her own diagnosis of autism. In a way it is like an exploration of what it means to be autistic.
However, as a reader with Aspergers bringing up two kids on the spectrum there are two things I did not find as realistic with the main character. The first is that everything came so dang easy to her. She was rich and she worked in a company that accepted her just as she is. Most people on the spectrum cannot just buy their way out of sensory issues. The second is that she worried about her autism too much. This may just be a me thing, but I am proud of my diagnosis. What I worry about is the actual difficulties I have - such as social communication. Stella seemed to be the exact opposite. She did not have to worry about any of the repercussions of her disorder, just the title.
Also, the way the first chapter described SAS was weird and inaccurate. While I understand and relate to Stella's geeking out of data sets the way it was described was awkward. However, as the book moved on it became less awkward. I am uncertain if this is because the descriptions themselves were less awkward or because the became more about economics, a topic I am less familiar with as I am a social scientist.
Yet, it is a romance novel and there is a reason that I typically do not read them. I would rather the pages devoted to sex be given away to plot and character development.
My review is probably a bit too analytical. I did enjoy the book. I do think the characters were distinct and developed. I also think the writing was well done. The Kiss Quotient is well deserving of the four stars and I plan on continuing to read Hoang's books. Probably in paperback since that is how I started. I just hope the next book has slightly more depth. It is so easy to turn autism into a caricature or the sole defining aspect of a person.
I was a major Twilight fan in my 20s. I read all of the books so much that I would know what the next line would be. I attended release dates for the new books and went to see the movies. Then I put the books aside. Twilight got a bad rap and I was trying to grow up.
After so many years without reading the series it was with trepidation that I picked it back up again. I am surprised by my own reaction.
First, Twilight is a good book. No it is not a major piece of classical literature. However having read hundreds of books in between readings I can attest that the writing of Twilight is good. The words flow well and there are no glaring mistakes. Although, as I have always believed, the strength of the book lies in the characters. They become real. You see Bella, Edward, and the rest of the Cullen family. They are people (or vampires) and even the minor characters are distinct and vivid in your mind.
Yet I did not swoon over the romantic nature of the book like I once did. If anything I think I would now be annoyed by such a relationship. Edward is pretty controlling and while Bella fights to hold her own too often she just lets him dominate her. It is a young and naive love that is not unique to Twilight. I was surprised about how fast the timeline is in the book. I remember this long drawn out love affair, but they barely knew each other. They only ate lunch together a few days and they were barely becoming a couple when they were risking their life for each other. It was just as young and pathetic as Romeo and Juliet.
I am very glad that I went back and read this series. As I am nearing forty I would not wish to have a relationship such as Edward and Bella. Yet, I did enjoy the book for what it is - the story of young and inexperienced 'love.' I am very excited to see what my reaction will be as I continue on with the rest of the books.
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