November 9 #BookReview

Colleen Hoover | publshd 2015 | 310pp

The opening of my last review did not age well. I started that review late November, post trip to Iceland, and a fabulous Thanksgiving with family and friends – before losing a close family member to a sudden and tragic death and another getting sick spending days in the hospital. Talk about life happening. 🤦🏾‍♀️ I refused to change the opening, opting to finish the review as written and add a note to this one instead. Thanks to a strong trust in God, and an understanding that no thing lasts forever, good or bad, I can say, today, I am fine. I sort of hate when people say ‘this too shall pass’ but the truth is – it will…or it can, if we release the energy. What I know for sure: If we choose to be present in each day, time passes, wounds heal, perspective changes, life moves on. I choose for that to happen. There is greater still to come.

Now – getting to our regularly scheduled review! True story – on November 9th of this year, I was in Iceland. It was a glorious trip filled with fun things like snow covered hikes, volcanoes, natural hot springs, drinking black death and eating dried fish. Would I visit again – yes. Would I visit again on the same day every year – likely not. Which makes me very different from the characters in Hoover’s book, November 9.

Main character, Fallon sustained serious burns over her face and body in a house fire when she was 16. Tragically, her father forgot she was in the house, so firefighters were late pulling her out of the fire. She blames her popular actor dad for her injuries and their relationship has been severely strained since the fire. Because of her scars, Fallon lost her own acting career and confidence. On the 2nd anniversary of the fire, November 9th, the two are having dinner and their typical contentious conversation/argument when Ben sits down and interrupts the pattern. Ben had been watching Fallon all night, seemingly attracted to her, when suddenly he sits down at Fallon and dad’s table, pretending to be Fallon’s late arriving boyfriend, and verbally checking the hell out of dad on his misogyny and pretentiousness.

Dad backs off but, Fallon and Ben enjoy a magical night. Fallon is leaving for New York the next day, but the two agree to meet the same day the following year. This is when it gets a bit weird – Ben is a writer and considers Fallon his muse. They both want the other to live their best life and somehow believe that requires them to stay OUT of one another’s life. So they block one another on all social media accounts and do not exchange numbers and addresses, so they only way they can connect is via the restaurant they met in, on November 9th the following year.

Cons: Say what? The premise of the book makes zero sense. Ben is writing a book and for the benefit of supplying him with material, they decide to not be together but to torture themselves by meeting one day a year for the next 5 years. Immediately they realize they love and enjoy one another but..? I couldn’t find where this is sold as YA but the two characters meet when they are 18. At 18, you think you have forever and the stupidest shit can make sense. God bless the young.

Another con – the writing is sugary, syrupy sweet. I mean fruit loop donuts w/sprinkles and a brown sugar glaze on top. Again, at 18, all you need is love. Respect, happiness, even common sense takes a back seat. Lol. In some spaces them longing and pining for one another, while they were in the same room together, got so long, I skipped entire chapters and missed nothing.

Pros: The writing is super sweet. I know, I know, hear me out. If you enjoy romance novels and love at first site tropes, this is for you. The dialogue between Fallon and Ben are written like a literary sacrifice to Romeo and Juliet. And though a bit draggy in some spots – I got it. It does also sharpen the knife later when the plot twist and the truth of it all comes out. No worries though, like with all good romances, if everything isn’t good – its not the end.

I was curious about this book so I did a little research. Originally published in 2015, its GoodReads reviews are mixed at best. Apparently others were just as thrilled as I with the self imposed longing and drama the characters invented. The ‘CoHo’ audience (which, by the way, is YA) was not here for the trope. Meanwhile, I think the book would make a good Lifetime movie, though I see no movement in that direction down to the Google thread. Ah well, read it and make your own movie. Good book #30

Want to read about two grown ups longing for one another? Check out:

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

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