Title: Looking for a Love Story
Author: Louise Shaffer
Release Date: April 6, 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Curled Up with a Good Book
Rating: 4 out of 5
Looking for a Love Story tells the tale of Francesca, an overweight, has-been novelist living in New York City. Her first book, Love, Max, about divorce and the break-up of a family told from the pet dog’s point of view, was well-received and a New York Times bestseller. However, it’s been years since she wrote that novel and hasn’t been able to come close to writing a second. She is paralyzed by fear and loneliness, and to compensate, she eats chocolate because it’s the only thing that seems to make her feel better.
While Francesca’s stud of a husband Jake was understanding at the beginning, they have been drifting apart for years. When she makes a shocking discovery about him, she forges ahead on her own, applying for humiliating ghostwriting jobs in order to be able to support herself. Through these applications, Francesca meets Chicky, a feisty, energetic octogenarian who is determined to tell the story of her parents, Joe and Ellie. Through their story, Francesca begins to comprehend her own and understand her place in the world.
Louise Shaffer’s previous novel Serendipity was a pleasant surprise, so reading Looking for a Love Story was a no brainer. There are two main plots to this novel: the story of Francesca and how she learns to live on her own terms, and the story of Joe and Ellie. Though I found both interesting, it was Francesca that was the easiest to identify with. It was very interesting to see how Francesca was affected by her parents’ divorce. She doesn’t hide the fact that Love, Max was based on her mother and father’s strangely amicable divorce; in fact, it’s her way of expressing her anger, since she was the only one who seemed to be bothered by it.
The Joe and Ellie story was sweet. While it wasn’t exactly gripping, it definitely made the reader wonder how it was going to affect Francesca, and whether she would learn something from their trials. Though I would have preferred the entire story told from Francesca’s point of view, it is easy to see why she was swept up by this intriguing and somewhat mysterious tale.
Looking for a Love Story was a sweet, simple novel about learning to live on your own terms and understanding what you want out of life. Francesca (along with her dog, Annie) is a great heroine who readers will sympathize with and root for as she uncovers the story of Chicky’s parents. It’s a great read for a breezy summer’s day, with the book in one hand and a glass of iced tea in the other.