Book Review: Love May Fail

Matthew Quick rapidly became a favorite author after I realized Silver Linings Playbook (the film) had been based on a book of the same name.  I’ve since read all his books, including Forgive Me Leonard Peacock, The Good Luck of Right Now, Sorta Like a Rockstarand Boy 21.  I was pleased to see he had a new book out last year, and when I attended NCTE this year, I procured a copy of Love May Fail. While avoiding finishing my grading this weekend, I devoured it in just two sittings.

Essentially, this story explores how to resurrect yourself from an existential crisis.  You might need some help from family, friends, and old teachers, but it is possible.  Told from a variety of perspectives (Portia, recently single after discovering her philandering husband; Nathan Vernon, Portia’s former English teacher; letters from a nun), this novel quickly captures your attention and your heart.  Teachers will appreciate the truth about teaching–it is simultaneously wondrous and dangerous, something that can fill us up and empty us out.

Perhaps my favorite element of the book is the card Mr. Vernon gave to all his students (which Portia saved for decades). On it:“Portia Kane, Official Member of the Human Race! This card entitles you to ugliness and beauty, heartache and joy—the great highs and lows of existence—and everything in between. It also guarantees you the right to strive, to reach, to dream, and to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be. So make daring choices, work hard, enjoy the ride, and remember—you become exactly whomever you choose to be.”

However, there’s a compelling storyline about a dog named Albert Camus as well.  This book is full of joy, sadness, redemption, resurrection, love, and most of all hope. The next time you need to lose yourself in a book, pick this one up.


Posted by Kate, VP Secondary PCTELA

Book Review: Love May Fail