Alice and Thea are best friends but their ideas of love are very different. Thea believes in a fairytale-type of love, and fully believes in romance, waiting for the right man to come along. Alice, on the other hand, is cynical – passion is a chemical emotion, not an emotion, and she dates man after man, with each relationship crashing and burning. Eventually, she decides to take charge of her love life and proposes to Mark, her long time friend, hoping for a secure and stable relationship. Over the course of the next few years, Alice and Thea find their ideas of love seriously challenged.
North’s style of writing is confusing – she doesn’t organise her narrative into chapters, instead opting for headings, the tendency to change tenses and speaker is all too frequent and is messy. There is a section when North writes from her own perspective, asking questions about the main characters, which resembles a bad TV cliffhanger, or a conversation in a discussion group. The front covers of Adam don’t really serve much purpose, although I enjoyed them more than the actual story itself and its characters.
Alice is maddeningly selfish and spiteful, her best friend Thea fares a little better, but presents herself as insipid and dull. The male characters don’t really do or add much, although Saul and his feelings for Thea after their split did tug at the heartstrings a little, but on the whole, I couldn’t really give a damn about these characters.
I couldn’t really take to the plot either, in particular, I found it awful to read about Alice and her attempts to conduct and justify her affair, and it is incomprehensible as to why we are supposed to forgive Saul for visiting prostitutes when he proclaims to love Thea. Thea’s reaction to hearing the truth is to try to sexually harass her male clients. Makes sense.
Not a great read on the whole – I didn’t enjoy the story or the characters. 1 star.