Read for the February theme (Love is Lit! / “fuck them both for thinking they could be happy”) of the 2019 ONTD Reading Challenge | Falling on Goodreads
As part of the 2019 ONTD Reading Challenge, I was supposed to pick up a romance (or break-up) novel for February. Nothing anyone was recommended was available from the library, so I went back to Jane Green after not having read any of her books in ten or fifteen years. I’m not sure whether she changed or I have but I struggled incredibly hard to finish Falling.
I had a conversation with a couple coworkers last week about abandoning books when they’re frustrating. Both of them mentioned giving up relatively quickly. I definitely don’t think suffering through a book (or show or movie) when you’re not having a good time is a good thing, exactly, but I can’t help myself. It’s so hard to give up when I have already invested time and interest. I hate, hate, hate to quit. It’s not a great way to be, when there are so many great books out there and limited time to read them. (Or like, anything else in the whole world to do!) And yet…it’s been a long time since I’ve refused to finish a book. Usually, I continue on long past the point where I’ve stopped enjoying it. I hope that things will turn around or there will be something redeeming – maybe I’ll even learn something? Even if the lesson is “what not to do in your writing,” I think that’s a good reason to continue. More than that, I don’t want it to “beat me” and petty as that is, that urge to conquer the book usually outweighs my displeasure and boredom.
So I finished Falling, despite the lack of emotional continuity or logic I could relate to, despite not particularly enjoying any of the characters, simply because I had a goal to read a romance I needed to accomplish. I don’t mind a fluffy romance, the pattern of “oh no I can’t date them, oh no, we’re dating, oh no we’re in looooove!” doesn’t bother me at all. This book hit some of those stops but something was hollow for me. Something didn’t resonate. There was even a twist I never saw coming and still, I didn’t find any renewed interest in the story.
The writing style itself bothered me – it felt clunky and illogical. Far be it for me to question anyone’s anxieties, but some of the thought processes of the main character felt like they were totally out of the blue sometimes, fears suddenly drummed up out of nothing to introduce conflict. Even the B plot of the main character’s new job suddenly blossoming up out of something she was passionate about (though her taste in interior design I am seriously confused by) was so rote, of course her passion translated to success, of course the first idea of a job she landed on after leaving her job in finance was perfect and everything she imagined and so introducing this as a storyline at all felt pointless. Falling in love with a person, a career, and a new role in your life should feel like something and it added up to nothing at all for me.
Not to mention, none of it felt fun. Isn’t that the point of reading a romance? That it’s light and fun or dramatic and fun or unpredictable and fun? It was a complete disappointment.
Now that I’m older – it might be interesting going back to older Jane Green books to see what I’d enjoyed in the past but just from reading descriptions, I can’t even remember the ones I have, ages and ages ago. With this experience, though…maybe those books are best left in the past.
Recommend? Maybe on an airplane.
To Read: Try some of the more-recommended Romance/Anti-Romance books recommended by ONTD: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne