I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson

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I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Do teen heartthrobs ever grow up, or teen crushes ever disappear? Petra is all set to find out in this tale of teenage dreams fulfilled 20 years too late.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: January 2011
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-0099468592

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It's the 70s, and 13 year old Petra is in love, and not with a silly boy at school, but with a man. He's not from Wales like she is, or even from Britain. He's much more mysterious and alluring. He comes from across the pond and his name is David Cassidy. The David Cassidy.

At the same time, recent graduate Bill is trying to get a foot hold in the world of publishing. It's not easy, even with a degree in English Literature, and he's not quite convinced his new writing job is worth the angst. Working for the David Cassidy magazine, his job is to take on the persona of the much loved pin-up...fully take on the persona. From letters to trivia, he is the voice of David, a guy who, for now at least, he has never met. He's blagging it all the way, and not entirely sure it's worth it.

When Petra and her friends find the magazine's ultimate quiz – the prize for which is an all expenses paid trip to Hollywood – they can barely contain their excitement. Throw in some girly gossip and malicious manipulation, and it's quite a turbulent time for the group. All's fair in love and war, but there will be some casualties along the way, and with no guarantee they will win, are the girls sacrificing their friendship for nothing?

The first half of the book is the period leading up to that fateful competition entry, and the second half is the aftermath, albeit some 20 years later. It's an interesting if slightly far-fetched premise but if you can suspend disbelief for a few hours, it's quite a fun read.

Some books are enhanced by having the narrative interrupted at key points, but the inclusions here – some ghost written articles and a weird case study from musical therapy – just seem odd and disjointed. At the same time, as the story moves on things happen without comment, characters vanish never to be heard of again and you're almost running to keep up, wondering if you've skipped a chapter such are the jumps forward with no preparation. I read a lot of it with a quizzical expression on my face, head tilted, brow furrowed. I was waiting for it all to make sense as I was sure once it did it would be marvellous, but alas it never happened.

This is a book I initially struggled to put down, but, once I had done, was also one I was in no hurry to pick back up. When you're in the moment, with the characters, it's compelling reading, but leave them behind for a few hours and their alluring appeal quickly fades. I did enjoy the book but it took me longer than I'd thought it would as I kept losing the will to read it.

In some ways it's a bit of a niche novel. While the book (inspired by the author's youth) and the interview transcription that follows it attest to the Cassidy Mania that swept the world in the 70s, former fans will still only account for a tiny member of the potential readership. As an 80s baby I knew neither him nor his work – I was more the Michael Jackson or Jason Donovan generation. At the same time, this could have been equally effective had it been written about a fictitious idol. These girls live, sleep and breathe Cassidy but the object of the girls' affection is less important than the magnitude of said affections.

I adored Pearson's first book, I Don't Know How She Does It and naturally want to draw comparisons between the two. If I didn't know the author, I'd perhaps have rated I Think I Love You a little higher, but compared to the previous title it didn't live up to my super high expectations. This has the feel of the 'difficult second book' that took years to write but wasn't necessarily worth the wait (coming out 8 years after her first hit). There is no doubt she is a talented writer, and I enjoyed the style of the book, I just thought the characters (especially all the many girls) rolled into one, and the overall feel was a little blah. I wanted to love it, I really did, but in the end I only liked it.

Thanks go to the publishers for sending us this book.

If this book appeals then we can recommend The Motherhood Walk of Fame by Shari Low.

Buy I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson at Amazon.com.


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