When I finished reading Love, In Theory, I closed the book and thought, “Oh good God love is awful and everyone cheats and I want to hide under my bed forever.”
What I liked
- Levy is a clever, witty writer, who frequently makes enjoyable puns.
- I really like this quote, from the story “Gravity”
Whenever Richard meets his high school friends, people he pretended to know because friends were necessary as clothes–they make it less embarrassing to go out in public–he feels a twinge of self-consciousness, an embarrassed moment when he finds himself wondering what they know about his life now. It’s not that he’s ashamed about the fact that he is gay, quite to the contrary, he imagines rather fatuously that this preference marks him out, makes him part of a lineage of Baldwin and Wilde, Shakespeare and Socrates, confirms some long-held but vaguely and never quite articulated sense that he is different from the others, born for some remarkable end, which he is only now beginning to suspect he is not. (p. 159)
- All of the stories provide thought-provoking, if not always pleasant, ideas about love and loss and the idea that what we think we want isn’t always what we need.
What didn’t work for me
- I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and it’s not like I have never been hurt or fallen out of love.
- Of the three stories that feature gay men (or, in “My Life In Theory,” a straight-identified man who has an affair with another man), one has AIDS, one realizes that he is only attracted to another man because he reminds him of himself, and one can’t stop cheating on his partner. Basically a bunch of stereotypes.
- Maybe I’m just not smart enough to understand stories (mostly) about middle- to upper-middle-class professors.
Recommended: Best if you enjoy the heartbreache-y elements of literary fiction. I think this collection would also be really good for book clubs.