This is a book review for Sex Love Repeat by Alessandra Torre, available here:
2* – unsure how to feel about this one
I downloaded this book on the recommendation of friends and two days after finishing it I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. I think there’s more negative than positive, hence the low star rating, but I still finished it in a day.
So what didn’t I like about it?
First person perspective, constantly changing to different points of view, is not my favourite thing to read, but it’s even worse when the author keeps trying to tell me how I feel and getting it wrong. At the end of a lot of Madd’s chapters she says “I know you hate me and judge me” or some variation thereof and I wasn’t hating or judging at all. Addressing the reader is a dangerous game for any author and in this instance I think she got it wrong. There were sections of it that were quite repetitive too, with Madd often thinking the same thoughts in exactly the same words. That said, there wasn’t as much emotion and angst as you’d expect from a first person POV.
Dana. That whole thing confused the hell out of me. At the beginning I assumed she was Stewart’s ex-lover because of the way she speaks and thinks and behaves and then when it’s announced who she really is I got completely confused. I went back to the beginning thinking I’d misread it, but no…it still reads like it was written by a lover. It’s almost like the author started out planning to have her as an ex and then later realised it wouldn’t work for the story, so she changed it without altering the back story. Very weird.
Stewart. Frankly the whole ‘sex and love are the same thing’ attitude is one of my bugbears. I’ll own up to that freely. If two people have nothing more in their lives than having sex twice a week, that’s not love. Especially when he’s about as emotionally available as a kitchen cabinet. If they wanted to have that kind of relationship then yay for them, but don’t portray it as something it isn’t.
The big reveal about Stuart and Paul. The way it was done at about 41% in is kind of anticlimactic, almost a throwaway thought from Dana. With my editor head on I can’t help but feel it would have had far more emotional impact had it been revealed at the hospital with everyone present. As it was, it kind of ruined any major angst that the book should have stirred up because you had all that quiet time to see it coming.
The ending. As much as I was glad about who she ended up with, I thought it was again anticlimactic that she didn’t really have any say in the matter. There wasn’t any big decision making or heartache or any of that. The decision was made for her and she was cool with it, which seems, after all the buildup, to take away what should have been the pivotal moment of the story.
What did I like?
I liked Madd and Paul’s characters. I liked that Madd was so brazenly just who she is and is okay with that. She doesn’t make excuses or try to conform. She’s just a free spirit that knows what she likes and it was good to read, although I did hate her on occasions for her selfish attitude and what she was putting Paul through. But it’s okay to hate characters. Paul was a sweet and vulnerable man and I liked his sections too. You could see a real progression from damaged innocent to protective man. I was glad that he stood up when it counted.
All the surfing terms. Nothing better than feeling like you’re learning things and actually the surfing sections were really well written.
The story was relatively well edited. There were only a handful or two of mistakes that I spotted, which makes a change.
Some of the sex scenes were really steamy and at first you think the hottest ones are with Stewart and then Paul surprises you, leading to an all round hot-fest.
So on balance I probably wouldn’t recommend it unless you want an easy read that’s not too hard-hitting. Maybe a summer beach read?