Love As Defined On Page 45.
So The Bloggess recently wrote a post in which she mentioned a Facebook meme that stated:
“Pick up the nearest book to you, and turn it to page 45. The first sentence explains your love life.”
And of course, true to form, her response was kind of hilarious and a little frightening.
But I’m pretty sure she cheated because the nearest book was her book. As in, the one she wrote. And I hardly think it’s fair to define your love life based on something you wrote. That’s like declaring yourself as your shrink to justify self-medicating with good scotch and prescription drugs.
Fortunately for me, (ahem), I haven’t written a book. So I knew my results would be far more accurate.
This happened to be the nearest book to me because my dear friend Erin (remember her?) drove down from Maryland for an impromptu visit this weekend, and amongst hours of conversation about travel and home renovations and families and not having kids, there was chatter about the new adventures we might have instead. After all, didn’t we once move to Costa Rica to make hot sauce? Even though we have mortgages and career aspirations and are — gulp — in our thirties, we can still have adventures. At which point I pulled Torre’s book from the mishmash of unorganized stacks on my shelves and, in a Grenache-induced, purple lip stained frenzy, excitedly pointed to the cover and said, “THIS. She did this! She sailed across most of the Pacific Ocean with her boyfriend on a tiny boat and they didn’t even kill each other.”
And okay. They almost killed each other, probably on several occasions, but who wouldn’t be tempted after months squeezed into a tiny boat with just one other person while battling sea sickness, intense isolation, and the very real fear that you might not survive your vacation?
But that’s why I enjoyed the book — her very honest description of life and love and the thrill of living out the choices we make every time we decide to roll those dice.
And some, like Torre, roll the dice more than others.
So Erin left, but my hangover and the book remained. And there it was, just an arm’s length away, when Facebook and The Bloggess told me to consult Torre about the status of my marriage. And I’ll admit — I was excited to find out how my love life might be defined by her love story, because hey. Facebook memes are a totally legitimate way to self-analyze.
I flipped to page 45, and there it was, right at the top:
“Ivan bangs some cupboards in the kitchen and comes back up the companionway stairs with glasses of wine.”
Now. Profound truths can be found anywhere if we want to see them bad enough, but this? This really is my idea of love — banging and wine.
But really, on a deeper level, we can say this: Sometimes anger happens. Sometimes there’s pain. Sometimes cupboard doors get slammed and feelings get hurt and love’s intent gets questioned. Its integrity compromised. But, in the end, if it’s real and it’s good and it’s worth storing in the cellar until it matures to a ripe, provocative finish, its sensation on the palate is well worth the struggle.
Who knew you could get all that from a light summer read?
I wrote a post inspired by this book last May, when Torre’s publisher was nice enough to send me a review copy. I promised I’d write a review “soon,” which apparently means “eight months from now,” because I’m pretty sure this post officially counts as a review. Love with a Chance of Drowning is funny, inspiring, and sometimes brutally, brutally honest. And also, the writing holds its own.
My favorite paragraph in the whole book:
“Let’s see what we can do about that,” says Gavin, as he clips the buckle of an undersized floatation vest around his swollen midriff. A fold of belly peeps out from beneath his salmon-pink polo shirt to offer a hairy hello. He pulls a canvas sun hat over his last remaining tufts of hair, then fumbles through pockets on his cargo shorts to retrieve a fat stick of zinc, which he smudges over his nose, lips, and capillary-covered cheeks. His face is already protected from the sun by an impressive awning of overgrown eyebrows.
Don’t worry — this is not a description of her boyfriend.
Anyway. If you’re looking for a tear-jerking, life-changer of a novel, look somewhere else. But if you’re in the mood for lighthearted, witty, adventure-slash-love story with just the right amount of poignant introspection, pick this one up.
Aside from the banging and wine kind of love, I learned a little something about relationships. While Justin and I aren’t about to go sailing across the Pacific together, I know —
He’s someone I’m willing to roll the dice with.
Now your turn. Nearest book. Page 45. First sentence. Share in the comments!