I received this book free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
Published by Harper on June 16th 2015
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her ritzy Florida life and her cheating pornographer husband, she finds herself back in South Jersey, a place that remains largely unchanged from the years of her unhappy youth. Lost and alone, looking for the goodness she believes still exists in the world, Portia sets off on a quest to save the one man who always believed in her—and in all of his students: her beloved high school English teacher, Mr. Vernon, who has retired broken and alone after a traumatic classroom incident.
Will a sassy nun, an ex-heroin addict, a metalhead little boy, and her hoarder mother help or hurt Portia’s chances on this quest to resurrect a good man and find renewed hope in the human race? Love May Fail is a story of the great highs and lows of existence: the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be.
Portia Kane is a woman who used to have big dreams of being a published author but is currently experiencing something akin to a mid-life crisis. We’re first introduced to her character as she hides drunk in her bedroom closet with a handgun watching her porn-producer husband cheat on her with a much, much younger woman. As sad as it sounds, Quick made this introduction memorable and hilarious, as unlikely as that seems. Deciding that going to jail for shooting her husband and his lover she dubs “Khaleesi” just isn’t worth it so she hops on a plane to head back home to her simple-minded hoarder of a mother. She has a coincidental run-in with a nun she’s seated next to on the plane at which point Portia, still drunk, spills her guts to her even going so far as to describe just how endowed her soon to be ex-husband isn’t. Coincidentally the nun is actually the mother of her favorite English teacher that changed her whole outlook on life, who just so happens to be going through his own mid-life crisis as well.
Honestly, I could continue on with the various plots and coincidences (there are many of both in this tale). There are also several different POV changes: Portia of course, her English teacher Mr. Vernon, Chuck Bass (another individual left changed by Mr. Vernon and someone who has harbored a crush on Portia for the better part of two decades), and even a brief interlude to Mr. Vernon’s mother who we’re made informed by the letters she sent to her son. Portia, regardless of her protestations that “it wasn’t about the money” doesn’t ever come across as anything but a rich, privileged whiner. The flashbacks to her past and her childhood dreams should have been enough to make her a bit more tolerable, but unfortunately, she never did dredge up any sympathy from me. And her showing up at her favorite English teacher’s house was more creepy than gracious. I have a favorite teacher that I recall with absolute adoration, however, I still can’t say I would ever get the urge to show up at his house unannounced declaring that I was there to “save him”. Mr. Vernon’s character was the POV most explored and was the most interesting to read about. His mother’s POV could have been left out entirely, which would have left this book minus the two dozen or so mentions of “my husband, God” which made my eye twitch just about every time. There is also a very strange and intense focus on negative reviews (it specifically mentions a bad review a published book received via Kirkus) and ultimately the impact they have on an author. Not sure what Quick was trying to say with that little tirade but I find it more than a bit funny that Kirkus didn’t actually care for Love May Fail very much.
I’ve heard this is a common trend in Quick’s novels (this is my first Quick novel so I can’t speak for the rest), but faith and the belief that there’s always something to live for is the theme with this one. It’s about finding that spark in life that spurs you up over the next hurdle that life will inevitably throw your way. The idea was there with this one but the execution and the abundant coincidences left me feeling far from inspired.
This post was a part of ‘Love May Fail’ blog tour.
Check out the other tour stops below!
Tuesday, June 16th: Book Hooked Blog
Wednesday, June 17th: Novel Escapes
Thursday, June 18th: 5 Minutes For Books
Friday, June 19th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, June 22nd: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, June 23rd: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, June 24th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, June 25th: Chronicles …
Monday, June 29th: she treads softly
Tuesday, June 30th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, July 1st: Into the Hall of Books
Thursday, July 2nd: Many Hats
Monday, July 6th: Bibliotica
Tuesday, July 7th: Becca Rowan
Wednesday, July 8th: For the Love of Words
Thursday, July 9th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, July 10th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books