Wednesday, February 25, 2015

*Review* The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

Genre: Romance
Published: June 16, 2014
Pages: 590
Ages: 18+


From author Suanne Laqueur comes an astonishing debut novel: a young man's emotional journey to salvage relationships destroyed in the wake of a school shooting. 

As a college freshman, Erik Fiskare is drawn to the world of theater but prefers backstage to center stage. The moment he locks eyes with a beautiful, accomplished dancer named Daisy Bianco, his atoms rearrange themselves and he is drawn into a passionate and soulful love story. But when a disturbed friend brings a gun into the theater and opens fire, the story is forever changed. 

Spanning fifteen years, The Man I Love explores themes of love and sexuality, trauma--physical and mental--and its long-lasting effects, the burden of unfinished business and the power of reconciliation. Through Erik's experience we reflect on what it means to be a man, a son and a leader. A soul mate, a partner and a lover. What it means to live the truth of who you are and what you feel. What it means to fight for what you love.
This was one of the most real books I have ever read. It's right up there with Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and The Good Soldiers by David Finkel in the realm of realism. All three of these books are about tough subjects, and all three of them hit me deep and will remain with me for a long time to come. 

This book is told in first person from Erik's perspective, giving us a narrow view of the events that unfold, but making them feel extremely personal. The characters were dynamic and flawed and never felt cliche. Although I empathized most with Erik's experiences, being in his shoes and all, I also felt connections with most of the other major characters as well. 

The descriptions were detailed and vivid. My experience with ballet is limited to Save the Last Dance and the scene in Step Up where Channing Tatum is in that introductory ballet class with the little girls. I've never even seen a Nutcracker ballet that wasn't a cartoon. In spite of that, I was easily able to imagine the dancers on stage. I believe this visualization was more easily accomplished because the story was told from Erik's perspective and prior to college, he had even less experience with ballet than I have. 

My one issue with the book is that I feel like the life trials the characters faced were excessive in the end. Although the book spans fifteen years, Ms. Laqueur threw a whole lot of problems at her characters. It almost felt like fifteen years of not being able to catch a break. It was emotionally exhausting for me, and I was only reading about it. But this complaint just added to the realism of the book because we all know that life isn't all flowers and sausages. 

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars because it was just really well done in basically every area. Would I call it the next great American novel? No, because I'm not qualified to make that claim, but if someone else were to declare that, I wouldn't be surprised. I would definitely recommend this book to people looking for a more realistic romance. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author
Suanne Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog www.eatsreadsthinks in 2010, and now writes at Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. The Man I Love is her first novel.

Chapter 1

My Challenges

I used The Man I Love to fulfill my romance category for my Book Bingo challenge and my book with more than 500 pages category for the Popsugar reading challenge (sorry Outlander, maybe next year.) 

Other categories it could have fulfilled for the Popsugar challenge include:

A book by a female author
A book with a love triangle
A book that made me cry
A book by an author I'd never read before

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