True Love Way Paperback – Mar 23 2012
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The main character Marlo was hanging on to her past, to a guy who left her 12 years ago with not even a goodbye. Now I understand how someone may need closure to let go of someone or something. But in my opinion this main character acted and thought like a teenager. Her ex came back into town and requested to see her and instead of thinking about to seeing him to clear things out, she was thinking about how she can get things back to the way they were before he left. That way of thinking is too immature for an adult. Now if this was a YA, then this wouldn't have bothered me so much because young adults aren't always mature enough to make a smart decision.
The author however does shake things up a bit and this helps Marlo in my opinion grow up a bit. This is when I actually start enjoying the main character and her story. She becomes more mature and start making wise decisions. She finally opens her eyes wide enough to see what or rather who is she has before her. That's when the story became what I expected, a true love story. I fell in love with two characters in this story, which is Nik (her best friend) and her Aunt Madge. Those two characters made the story so much better.
I know I kind of rambled on in this review but the main character really annoyed me throughout the first half of the book. But after she matured and opened her eyes, I started enjoying the story more. I was rooting for Marlo to find her closure and to find True Love's Way. I give this book a 3 stars because of the frustration I felt towards the main character towards the first half of the book. But after that the story picked up and I really enjoyed myself.
Fortunately, Marlo's best friend, Nik, indulges her passion. He even accompanies her to dinners with her wacky aunt. Nik's sister, Savannah, is Marlo's other best friend, and lives with her precocious daughter in the friends' hometown of Napa. It isn't that Marlo's life in Malibu is idyllic, but it's peaceful. That is, until she receives a message from Josh, her high school boyfriend who she hasn't heard from in over a decade: he'd like them to discuss the promise they made before they broke up after graduation.
Marlo is stunned. Yes, she and Josh promised each other that if they were 30 and not married that they would marry each other, but the last she saw of him, he left Napa and headed to France to culinary school. Even though Marlo broke up with him, she's still hurt that he never invited her to visit him in France, much less kept in touch. She agrees to go to Napa to see him when he heads back home, and Nik decides to drive and accompany her.
To say that Nik does not like or trust Josh is a fair assessment of his feelings. And we know why: Nik loves Marlo for himself. When we meet Savannah and see her reaction to Josh's return to Napa, our suspicions ignite, far more than Marlo's. In fact, if there is one thing about Marlo that vexes us it is her penchant for overlooking the obvious. We see the connections long before she does, so by the time her outrage hits, our shock has worn off and we're kind of over it.
Yet you can't help but like Marlo, and you can't help but really like Nik, just as you can't help but distrust Savannah and Josh. Nancy Scrofano presents Marlo's kitschy devotion to classic sitcoms with just the right touch: any firmer, and we would find Marlo annoying and obnoxious. There is a reason why people like Marlo, and it has everything to do with her open, sweet disposition - a disposition Nik adores but Josh attempts to manipulate.
You can see the ending of this book from its opening pages, but that doesn't mean that Scrofano does not make the inevitable an enjoyable turning of the pages. She clearly likes her characters, and we in turn come to care about them as well. For those of us who came of age in the '70s and '80s, there is the added bonus of flashing back to television shows we recall with a nostalgic glow.
True Love Way is much like its characters: cute, adorable, and sweet.
Published on cupcake's book cupboard. @VivaAmaRisata
Thanks to the author for the preview.
I held out hope until about 15% but it became extremely tiresome after that. The main character's obsession with vintage television goes way beyond the normal spectrum. I like classic TV as well, but not to the point of hoarding memorabilia, referencing old shows as if they parallel my life, and having every dream featuring me as the star of such shows.
The protagonist was impossible to relate to. She is immature, petulant, and quite honestly delusional...harboring a 'love' for her high school boyfriend until she's almost 30 and being so emotionally stunted that she's just been waiting for contact from him so they can reconcile and spend the rest of their lives together. Might I suggest intensive therapy?
The remainder of the book is just a lot of flailing around describing clothing, food, social outings, crying before, during, and after said outings, and of course referencing old television shows ad nauseum. There is absolutely no opportunity for the reader to piece things together for themselves; rather we are hit over the head with obvious points again and again.
My opinion is that this author needs to rethink her target audience. I think she could be a decent YA author if she wrote age appropriate material and realized that even very young readers don't require the level of obviousness she employs.
Out of the blue Marlo gets an e-mail from Josh saying that he's back in their hometown of Napa, California and he'd love to see her. Marlo and her (guy) friend, Nik, head to Napa ostensibly to spend a week's vacation visiting family and friends, but in truth Marlo is hoping that she and Josh will be reunited. Sure enough, Marlo does meet up with Josh in Napa, but it's not quite what Marlo expected....
First of all, I had to suspend my disbelief in order to get past the idea that a 30 year old woman is still pining after her High School boyfriend, who she hasn't had any contact with for twelve years. Twelve years! But that's the premise, so I had to resign myself to it. I kind of liked quirky Marlo, despite the fact that I felt that she was a little...dense. The `super big SECRET' that comes as a total shock to Marlo was pretty obvious by about page 40. Her passion for all things retro was just goofy enough to feel realistic, and all the talk about old TV shows was quite a pleasant little stroll down memory lane for me.
My main issue was with the other characters. I understand that Marlo was an old movie buff, but so are her best friend Savannah and her boyfriend Josh. Heck her parents even share her enthusiasm. One retro loving character adds a little quirkiness to the story, but when all the characters share the same interests it starts to feel stilted. Then we have Savannah's 11 (about to turn 12) year old daughter, who seems to be more like 7 or 8. Just try asking a tween if they've gone to the bathroom before they left the house, or explain away their absentee father by saying that he's been "away" for their entire life, but he loves them very much. I also found the dialog a bit awkward at times, especially when the characters had to work the TV trivia into so many of their conversations.
Every time Marlo goes out with Josh, the evening ends with her getting angry and crying. They never have a good time together, yet she seriously considers getting back together with him. The fact that he proposes and doesn't tell her that he has two children upsets her, but her reaction was way too mild (and forgiving) to be believable. Then there's all this frustrating waffling where she's done with Josh, but maybe not. They agree it can't work, but maybe it can. I felt like the same scenario played out several times. Also, I thought that Marlo's character seemed much more like an older teen than a 30 year old woman. Actually believing that you are going to pick up where you left off with your High School sweetheart after not having contact with them in 12 years? I just felt that much of Marlo's thought process would have been more understandable in a much younger character.
To sum it up, it was a pleasant enough story, but I felt the characterization just didn't work. The first person narrative was a little limiting due to Marlo's remarkable lack of self-awareness. Overall the writing was competent and the book is nicely edited for grammar and spelling. There's no strong language or sexual content. Suitable as a young adult read, though I suspect all those vintage TV references will fly right over their heads.
(Original review edited for clarity)