Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Book Review: Love at First Date

I’m not sure this actually counts as a book review since Love at First Date feels more novella length than anything and it was such a breezy read, but since I’m still on the hook for my May book review, here goes. 

Love at First Date follows Ellen, a customer support representative trying to find love in Sacramento but in the most regimented of ways, using a detailed dating service. It’s not until she starts finally going out on dates with the people she’s met through her profile that she meets her real match blindly through some twist of luck (or if you’d rather, a dog she’s watching and a clogged hair brush).

Henry, the man who helps save her best friend’s dog and whose eyes she can’t stop looking into is all she can think about. Although she wishes she could stop. She tries busying herself with men she’s met from her dating profile because she’s convinced they meet her compatibility markers and if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother, it’s that marriages don’t work without finding common ground.

Love at First Date is an enjoyable bit of fluff and a very quick read, but it isn’t all fluff. This book has a lot on its mind, or rather, the protagonist has a lot on hers, like how she’s supposed to make it work with a man when her mother, who was married twice before and couldn’t even make it work with Ellen’s birth father long enough to get married. Can she really find what and who she wants when she sees all of her mother’s old mistakes?

 There’s a lot of interpersonal relationships at play here too. Can she find love, be allowed to find it, when her friends have interpersonal lives falling apart? Will there meddling help or hurt? And can Ellen finally get out of her own way to see what’s in front of her?

I not only enjoyed reading how all those questions got answered, but how they were posed in the first place. Susan Hatler does a great job of really getting you right in the character’s head, showing you exactly what makes her tick and just what kind of neuroses are really at play.

 Love At First Date is an enjoyable fast-paced read and well worth your time. It’s an A.

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