Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

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To be honest with you, this book isn’t very rememberable. I only finished reading it the other day and it took me a couple of minutes to remember what the main character’s name is. Josie, as it were. But, I don’t know. This book just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped.

I think this is because I really can’t decide how I feel about Josie. Sure, sometimes I found her witty and mature, but other times I found her annoying and dumb and immature and the rest of the time I was pretty neutral, I guess. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind Josie’s naivety, it really didn’t bother me. Everyone is naive about love and such things at points in their lives, and as she’s a fifteen year-old I can understand her continual analysis of and over thinking about love. In fact, the analysis in the book, which Josie hands in as a school assignment, was probably my favourite part of the book to read. I also liked the ending, even though I didn’t find it very believable (you’ll see why when you read it. Hint: I’m talking about something specifically about Josie’s best friend Stu).

Speaking of, there wasn’t enough Stu. It was a disappointment. What we do see of him I liked a lot, though. He and Josie are quite cute, with their text messages and banter. But there just wasn’t enough of him to really warrant caring too much about him and what happens to him and Josie. 

A large chunk of the book is taken up by Josie trying to convince her sister Kate not to marry her boyfriend. I found it all really stupid and couldn’t see why Josie was so against Geoff (or whatever his name was) and I really didn’t like Kate much at all. I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just the case of me being a 23 year old reading a YA novel that’s just simply aimed at a younger level than me. Even if it does have swear words (I think?) and contain some mature material in it. In saying that, the whole Josie vs Geoff vs Kate does have a good resolution, as Josie comes to a particular epiphany that I found quite good.

So, there are some good things about this novel. It made me laugh a fair bit and it is at times very smart. But for some reason or other it just didn’t quite hit the mark for me and when it comes down to it, though it was reasonably enjoyable reading about Josie’s boy problems, the romance factor just didn’t cut it for me. Definitely not a book I’d put in my favourites pile, but not the worst read in the world. Who knows, you might love it.

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