Posted in adult fiction, contemporary, review

Almost Love – Louise O’Neill

“No one had ever told Sarah that being in a relationship could feel like coming home. That love didn’t have to mean feeling scared all the time.”

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Blurb: “When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard. So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.”

I’ve always entered Louise O’Neill’s books with a sense of trepidation because they have the habit of being an utterly terrifying insight into our current climate. Almost Love is O’Neill’s first adult book and might just be my favourite book of hers yet.

The story kicks into play when the protagonist- Sarah- bumps into her ex, Matthew. Through jumps in time, between past and present, the reader sees the relationship unfold with Matthew and how it goes on to affect the “now” in Sarah’s current relationship. She’s often abrasive to her boyfriend and there’s one particular scene which nearly broke my heart.

The main theme is obsessive love; that waiting for the call, hanging around when they’re clearly not interested and a lot of graphic sex: both consensual and not really consensual. All of Sarah’s relationships with men have been centred around money: she would reach for her purse knowing full well the men would be paying.

I’m not normally a big fan of slow reads and this is one of those books with no real climatic moments but it was all-consuming in a way I can’t quite place. Sarah is a fascinating character and it was all too easy to sympathise with her justifications for Matthew’s behaviour.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Aoife McMahon which was incredible. As I said, it’s a slow burn and I think I would’ve become easily bored if I was physically reading, but her tone and the way she told the story just had me flying through the book. If you’re looking for a way to consume this book, I highly recommend the audiobook.

 

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Posted in Audiobook Of The Month

Audiobook The Month | Almost Love

As you can tell by the title of this post, it’s that undetermined point in the month when I talk about what audiobook I’ve decided to listen to for this short period of time. We’ve established that I’m terrible at introductions, so let’s get straight into it.

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Almost Love is Louise O’Neill’s first adult book and follows a woman called Sarah who starts to relive a past relationship after bumping into her ex for the first time since their “break up.” Some of the many themes we’ve come to know (and be terrified) of Louise O’Neill for are present this story: consensual and not-consensual sex, power imbalances and obsession. The book flits between the past and present with the former focusing on Sarah’s relationship with Matthew and how she let him use her for sex, constantly checked messages etc and was forced to keep their partnership private for reasons she didn’t really understand, other than that Matthew had told her to. The present focuses on her latest relationship and shows how Sarah hasn’t really evolved: it’s acknowledged in the narrative that she often pretends she’s going to pay even though she knows the men in her life always will and she’s quite abrasive with her current boyfriend.

The audiobook is narrated by Aoife McMahon and there’s just something truly captivating about the way she’s telling the story. Almost Love is a slow story and I think I’d have been easily bored if I was physically reading it, but her narration just has me flying through the chapters.

At the time of writing this, I am 52% into the book and nothing major has really happened but I’m waiting for that typical “Louise O’Neill moment” when impending doom sets free.