Rated Reads

This Love Story Will Self-Destruct

by Leslie Cohen

Rated: High

Eve is a “walking, talking well of feelings,” an artsy type taking plenty of writing classes at Columbia University. Ben is an engineering student at Columbia, who naturally seeks order. Eventually, the two opposites end up together. But in the intervening 10 years or so, as many times as they cross paths, they don’t have any interest in each other.

This Love Story is about their love story, but also about the many years they didn’t have a love story. It’s told in alternating points of view, as they date other people and try to figure out their lives as they go through their 20s. They live in New York City, and the city and their haunts play a significant part in the story as well.

Eve’s part of the story takes up far more than Ben’s; the first fifth of the book is almost all about her, including a long and tortured relationship she has with an aspiring musician. Ben’s story and perspective really play second fiddle in the book, which makes it feel off-balance.

Thanks to the short shrift given Ben (was his life just that much less interesting than Eve’s?), and then because Eve’s just so given to “feelings,” which can get old without careful handling, I didn’t feel really drawn into the story. It’s notable, too, how much the book is just about New York, about everything people who are from there love about it, and while other people from New York will probably really appreciate it, those of us who aren’t (and that’s most of the nation) won’t be as excited about all the NYC details.

When it comes down to it, This Love Story Will Self-Destruct is best for people from New York who are similar to the main characters. The rest of us may or may not enjoy it.

Rated: High, for probably three dozen uses of strong language, some crude conversations and some sex. Most of it is just referred to, though there are a couple of scenes that briefly have some detail (one is rather odd).

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • This Love Story Will Self-Destruct
  • by Leslie Cohen
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: