Review: Love Objects17 May 2021
Author: Emily Maguire
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Category: Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Drama
Endearing, from the heart.
Forty-five-year-old Nic seems to be on top of it all. She is living in her inherited family home (much to the chagrin of her estranged sister), has a stable job in a local supermarket which she has held for over thirty years, and appears happily resigned to a single life. But things are not quite as they seem. Her thin veneer of calm hides a multitude of sins. Her family history is a mix of lies, too-soon deaths and criminal endeavours. She clings desperately to her relationship with niece Lena and keeps herself happy by saving ‘love objects’. She is a hoarder. When she has a fall in her house, as a result of the piles of rubbish and tat, everything unravels and her secret life is made public.
But Nic is not the only one whose personal life has been put out there for all to see. Lena, a twenty-year-old university student has struggled to get into university. She had scored a scholarship to cover her course fees through sheer grit and by reworking her school grades through the TAFE system. She has no cash, some great friends and is struggling to maintain her GPA. When she falls for a handsome jock, she is lured into having sex with him in another student’s room. Within days of the event, a secret video of the encounter is splashed all over the internet. Lena stops attending uni, quits her job, and ploughs her energies into cleaning out Nic’s place so that she can return home from the hospital.
Will, Lena’s brother, the final character in the trio, is not long out of prison. He stuck in Mackay, recently retrenched, and his personal relationships are in tatters. He moves to Sydney to help Lena with Nic, and hopefully find a way to rebuild his life and restore his shattered dreams.
“Love Objects” is a story about fractured family relationships, mental illness and trying to find one’s place in a world when you don’t really seem to fit. It is challenging and beautiful all at once. The characters are endearing, and each offer relatable characteristics and situations in at least some parts of their individual stories.
The story unfolds using third-person narration, with the point of view switching between Nic, Lena and Will. The plot flows smoothly, seamlessly interweaving between the character’s stories. The chapters are well set out and easy to read for those who read on the go. My only criticism is that the story resolves a little too quickly and a bit too neatly, considering the depth of the family issues and psychological trauma covered in the stories.
This is a great book for anyone looking for a little light reading after exams. I thoroughly recommend “Love Objects” by Emily Maguire.
I received a free copy of this book from Farrago in exchange for a fair and honest review.