Wednesday 1 February 2012

Book Reviews – Love Stories

Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare

For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo’.

We know it’s going to end badly from the start, and yet we can’t get enough of the Bard’s star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. It’s got everything; romance, comedy, drama, feuding families and an apothecary. There have been many adaptations, film versions and take-offs but why not settle down with Shakespeare’s original play and let the whirlwind romance sweep you off your feet.

Stephenie Meyer

This masterful tale of forbidden love between a vampire and a human, takes you on a blood-pumping and heart-fluttering journey of yearning and lust. Set deep within the misty and brooding Pacific Northwest coast of America it’s sure to warm the cockles of even a vampire’s ice-cold heart.

First Love
Ivan Turgenev

First Love is a beautifully-written Russian classic which is set in the 19th Century and charts a young boy’s awakening to love and adult relationships. Guests at a party are invited to share their memories of their first dalliances. When asked to recount his first love, the protagonist, Vladimir Petrovich decides it’s a tale that is better written down in a notebook. It’s then recounted through the eyes of a 16 year old Petrovich. He weaves a complicated and unusual tale of how he fell in love with an older woman who lived next door. First Love is hailed as a significant and important novella for young Russians.

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging
Louise Rennison

Louise Rennison’s hugely popular comic novel is the first in the series about lovelorn teenager, Georgia Nicholson. It follows the trials and tribulations of Georgia and her best friend Jas, who form part of the Ace Gang. It’s packed with sleepovers and family life, along with heart-stopping and life-altering crushes on the object of her affection, ‘Sex God Robbie’. How do you cope when the boy of your dreams winds up with one of the ‘wet weeds’ instead of living happily ever after with you? The original Bridget Jones in a training bra, Georgia’s diary charts her path from girl to woman…and every step in-between.

The Reader
Bernhard Schlink

Set against a backdrop of post-war Germany, this love story asks how generations have come to terms with what happened during the Holocaust. The novel opens with a fifteen-year-old Michael Berg falling for the much older and more experienced Hanna Schmitz. Hanna is illiterate and after a chance meeting with Berg, he begins to read novels aloud to her and their relationship begins to blossom. The story is written in three parts, charting Michael’s life. It’s a complex tale of first love, realisations about the world and coming to terms with a history that irrevocably shaped Germany’s present and future. It’s thought-provoking and truly heartbreaking.

One Day
David Nicholls

Everybody who went to university in the eighties will both weep uncontrollably and laugh out loud at the nostalgia that One Day exudes. Published in 2009, it follows the twenty year courtship of Emma and Dex, catching up with them on the same day, the 15th of July, St Swithin’s Day.
One Day is filled with humour and wonderfully rounded, yet beautifully flawed characters you’re bound to fall in love with. Beginning as the two protagonists leave university and embark on their journey into the great wide world, fate soon overcomes youthful enthusiasm and aspiration. How long do we hold onto first loves, dream careers and a notion of happily-ever-after?

This article appears in our Feb/Mar 2012 issues - click here to read the All Things Local issue of your choice.

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