Title: One True Theory of Love
Author: Laura Fitzgerald
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the back cover:
Meg Clark believes in the “hokey pokey” theory of life, which demands that you put your whose self in; she even teaches it to her kindergarten students. But after the love of her life betrays her, and her father takes a flying leap off the pedestal she set him on, Meg has a hard time putting this theory into practice. What’s the point of opening yourself up if your heart comes back a little more broken each time?
Now only one man receives Meg’s full devotion: her nine-year-old son, Henry. She’s happy with her single-mom life. She and Henry re taking on the world in their own lively way, and it’s enough. Still, sometimes love finds you, whether you’re ready or not.
Love comes to Meg in the form of Ahmed Bourhani, an exotically handsome Iranian-American who befriends her and Henry over a game of chess in a coffee shop. Meg knows that second chances require a leap of faith, and the result is more often a complicated mixed bag than a neatly packaged happily-ever-after. Sometimes in order to heal you have to hurt, but most of all you have to live your life and put your whole self in…
One True Theory of Love is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who needs to come to terms with the hurts of her past in order to be able to move forward in life. Meg is a great, complicated character, though she wears so much of her emotion on the surface. It’s easy to underestimate her, and indeed, she underestimates herself more often than not. Meg is a very well-written woman and an extremely likable character that is easy to relate to.
At the beginning of One True Theory of Love, I wasn’t entirely certain how to classify this novel. The description seemed like it was a book about a woman’s need to live again after being crippled by past hurts, but the first few chapters of the book screamed “romance novel.” The book equalized into equal parts romance and self-discovery after that (hence, why I classified it as chick lit). I quickly realized, though, that Meg is in no way crippled emotionally. While she was hurt deeply in the past, she decided to live happily rather than collapse into a bitter shell of a person. It’s an amazing example of how to pick yourself back up after a huge setback. What I really liked about it is that it was in no way preachy; she didn’t choose to live freely and happily because she is better than the rest of us. Meg did it because she had a son to think about, and she knew she was at a crossroads in her life. It really is a testament to the power of optimism!
Ahmed was an interesting character. I actually really liked the way he was treated in this book. He was Iranian-American. He got some questions about his culture; there were maybe a few pages discussing his feelings on Iran. But generally speaking, the only way the reader remembered that he was of a different background was because of his name. This isn’t a book about a different culture, about what separates us. Instead, it was about what Ahmed and Meg have in common – their love for one another. I think this treatment stems from the fact that the author’s husband is Iranian American. (Don’t get me wrong, I adore multicultural fiction – it’s one of my favorite things to read. But sometimes I enjoy reading about people’s similarities rather than their differences!)
There were definitely some issues within the book – Meg’s lack of closure, Ahmed’s general distrust – but these are human issues that Fitzgerald writes very well. Neither of the character are perfect (which can sometimes be frustrating for the reader), but then again, if they were perfect then where would the enjoyment be in reading about them? In the end, One True Theory of Love is a very sweet novel about living life to its fullest and about putting your whole self in.
Thank you to Jennifer for sending me a copy of this book to review!