BOOK IN REVIEW: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight8:29 PM
January 2nd 2012
Rating: 2/5 stars
Rating: 2/5 stars
For such a nice and appealing title, this book turned out to be much of a disappointing read. I came across this book in the bestseller’s list of a book store, and the cover, the title, the back description all seemed nice to me, that I instantly downloaded the ebook when I got home. Boy, was I in for a great frustration.
My first problem with this book is that it’s just so freaking slow. For the first few chapters, NOTHING HAPPENS. Okay, I understand that first chapters have to have that introductory feel, where we get the gist of the character’s life and all, but the first parts bored me to death and it just didn’t work. I get it that your dad’s marrying another woman and you don’t want to go to the wedding but then you have to and then you missed your flight and now everyone thinks you did it on purpose – it just didn’t have to take 2 chapters to establish that. Even when Oliver comes into the picture, it was still so slow and we had to listen to them talk about mayo and pickles what with Oliver following her around and lugging her suitcase. Imagining the whole thing in my head and it really does look stupid. Their meeting was so anti-climactic I didn’t even feel this “love at first sight” thing which is basically the whole point of this story.
I also have an issue with the main narrative, as it is written in the third-person point of view in present tense. This would have worked, except that it failed to make the story relatable to me. This kind of writing made me think of the story as being narrated by a random bird following and watching the story unfold. It was creepy. Aside from that, the writing failed to be personal and gripping. I didn’t care for the characters; I didn’t have this connection with any of them. And that is obviously one of the most important parts of any book – the connection to the audience. This story clearly lacked that. The dialogues of the characters also didn’t seem that realistic to me, as if they were lines the author wanted them to say because the story demanded it, not what the characters would have said for themselves. The thing about telling stories is that your characters have to come to life. They have to become real, raw and relatable. Having said that, when writing, you should think “What would this character say?” not “What do I want them to say?” With the dialogue in this book though, the lines sounded so unnatural.
Writing aside, the story, though decent, didn’t really fare well either. We listen to Hadley complain about her cheating father for most of the story, but the dealing-with it part in the end happens so fast. Ironically, the ending was too fast for me in contrast to the slow beginning of the book. I get that Hadley’s hurt and angry at her father. I get her sense of loss and the pain you feel with parents separating from each other. I get her mother’s depression and heartbreak over the loss of a husband. I get that the father abandoned them to marry a younger British woman he fell in love with. But what I don’t get is how Hadley forgave the father in the end on the grounds of what? Because he looks happy with his new wife? Because his wife is actually nice? The ending was too convenient; it came to me as lazy story-telling.
I also found the book very confusing in terms of what is written at the back description and of what the story really is about. The main story is supposed to be about Hadley and Oliver’s love, but their romance is superfluous and unnecessary. It adds nothing substantial to the story, making everything about this book misleading. Instead of a young adult love story which this book has promised, the author has actually written a story about a girl coming to terms with forgiving her father. I wasn’t too sure what the overall message of the story is. Is it that we should learn to forgive people even if they did nothing to earn said forgiveness? Is it that love begins and ends quickly? That love has no permanence to it?
Oliver and Hadley’s romance is pretty short-lived; we aren’t too sure if their love is going to last beyond what happens in the book. Hadley’s father says that he still loves her mother but that he ‘fell in love’ with Charlotte, his new wife - which brings me back to the issue of Hadley easily forgiving him. How is that reason even valid? Is that reason enough to separate from your wife, abandon your daughter just because you fell in love? You can fall in and out of love everyday, but would you leave your family for some British chic you fell in love with while working abroad – an opportunity which your wife actually encouraged you to take?
Hadley’s father is clearly a douchebag. Though he might have had his reasons and he’s human, it still wasn’t enough for Hadley to forgive him just like that. I don’t get what Hadley’s supposed to realize at the end, but whatever it is, I hope she isn’t as lost as me after I read this book.