Is it really possible to Learn Love in a Week when it takes many people a lifetime, if ever? That is what the online course promises in Andrew Clover’s entertaining book of the same name. As far as Arthur Midgley is concerned, it’s worth giving this programme a tray because, after ten years of marriage, he and wife Polly seem to have forgotten how to love each other. To complicate matters further, they both have managed to reacquaint themselves with old flames. Therefore, if they do learn to love again, will it be with each other?
This thoroughly enjoyable story takes place over just one week but what a lot happens in that short space of time! It starts with Polly being really fed up with Arthur because she is the one with the sensible job that earns the money to keep the roof over their heads while he messes about while attempting to write a book. When she bumps into her old flame, James Hammond, and he asks her to design his garden, she is sorely interested – and not just in the garden! As she ponders on her decision, Arthur has a week of mixed fortunes – being sent home from a school where he is giving a talk to stumbling into writing a magazine column and appearing on national television. And, all the while, he is trying to follow the on-line course in order to make things better with Polly. Will he succeed though or will this hapless couple end up going their separate ways?
The story is told from three perspectives – Arthur’s, Polly’s and their friend Em’s. I liked the way that they each gave their different take on what was happening but it also meant that I did have to concentrate in order to remember who was doing the telling. It’s also a very funny book – which is mentioned in quite a few quotes on the front and back covers. I am always a bit nervous when I am told that a book is going to be hilarious as I am often left disappointed. However, this was not the case with Learn Love in a Week as I definitely had many of the ‘laugh-out-loud moments’ that I was promised.
I particularly identified with some of the descriptions of Polly’s and Arthur’s home – such as the fruit bowl by the fridge filled with everything that Arthur does not want to deal with – ‘bills, buttons, bike lights, dental floss, phone chargers, letters from school, Barbie dolls that are missing half their limbs and some mouldy pears!’ We have a drawer like that in our house as do we have the ‘pile of laundry that has been sitting at the bottom of the stairs for a month’. If you are used to living in a mess you will know all about Arthur’s and Polly’s house.
Overall, Learn Love in a Week is a fabulous book that is as funny as it claims. It’s Andrew Clover’s first book and hopefully, it won’t be his last.
I am grateful to the publishers for sending me a review copy.
Learn Love in a Week by Andrew Clover
Published by Arrow Books, 2013
|Buy book online