• Hardcover: 416 pages
• Publisher: Harper (June 16, 2015)
“It doesn’t matter how I got here. What I do with the puzzle pieces that are now in front of me—that’s what matters.
Save Mr. Vernon.
My three-word quest.
Why I’m here in this time and space.”
Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her ritzy Florida life and her cheating pornographer husband, she finds herself back in South Jersey, a place that remains largely unchanged from the years of her unhappy youth. Lost and alone, looking for the goodness she believes still exists in the world, Portia sets off on a quest to save the one man who always believed in her—and in all of his students: her beloved high school English teacher, Mr. Vernon, who has retired broken and alone after a traumatic classroom incident.
Will a sassy nun, an ex–heroin addict, a metalhead little boy, and her hoarder mother help or hurt Portia’s chances on this quest to resurrect a good man and find renewed hope in the human race? Love May Fail is a story of the great highs and lows of existence: the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be.
Buy, read, and discuss Love May Fail
Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and The Good Luck of Right Now. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Q lives with his wife, the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Connect with Matthew
I feel like I should begin this review by confessing that I’m one of only three people on the planet who hasn’t seen (or read) The Silver Linings Playbook. I swear it’s in my Netflix queue. On the other hand, I did read and review The Good Luck of Right Now last year, and I really enjoyed it, so that should count for something, shouldn’t it?
In any case, this book had me laughing and crying from the first page, where Portia Kane is hiding in her bedroom closet, to the last, which I’m not going to talk about because of spoilers. As with his other work, Matthew Quick has given us an array of unconventional characters whose lives intersect and interweave in ways that are at once preposterous and completely plausible. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s the only author on the planet who can create the eclectic groups of people that he does. (I imagine him riding public transportation, watching people, and stealing their quirks and flaws – but this scenario exists solely in my head.)
Portia’s story was both appalling and affirming, her journey an exaggerated version of the voyages of self discovery all women, and indeed all people, must eventually take if they wish to truly be whole. Her mother, her husband, and all the other characters who inhabit her world are all as interesting as she is, and ultimately, each acts as either a guide or an obstacle for her.
If you like novels that exist many layers of enjoyment – from surface entertainment to layers of metaphor, allegory, and self analysis, you will enjoy this novel. Love May Fail is delightfully complex, refreshingly candid, and deliciously…off-kilter.
Goes well with diet Coke with lime, and Reese’s pieces.
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