Sunday, November 10, 2019

Book Review: "Get a Life, Chloe Brown" by Talia Hibbert

Get a Life, Chloe Brown is a rom-com that really made me think. (Plus: super steamy.)

Chloe Brown is feisty and independent, but the chronic pain of her fibromyalgia leaves her choosing the safe path more often than not, and she doesn't let people help her for fear she’ll be a burden.

"She hadn't always been like this, a tongue with the tip bitten off, her feelings squashed into a box. But help and concern, even from the people she loved—even when she needed it—had a way of grating. Of building up, or rather, grinding down. Truthfully, guiltily, sometimes simple gratitude tasted like barely sweetened resentment in her mouth."

When she nearly escapes being hit by a car, Chloe realizes her life has lacked excitement, so she—a compulsive list-maker—puts together a list of items she wants to accomplish. Things like enjoy a drunken night out, go camping, and have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.

Although she and her building’s superintendent, the handsome Redford (Red) Morgan, seem to hate the very sight of each other, there’s much more to him than meets the eye. He’s artistic, kind to everyone (but her), and sexy as hell. Chloe starts to realize that maybe Red can help her cross some items off her list—perhaps in exchange for creating a website to sell his art.

Of course, if you read rom-coms, you know how often hatred masks chemistry and strong attraction to one another, and Chloe and Red are no different. But there’s far more to this story than meets the eye. Both are vulnerable, both bear the painful scars of past hurts which keep them from moving on. Can they allow themselves the luxury of giving in to their feelings, no matter what the risk?

"Love isn’t safe, as that story proves. But is it worth it?"

What struck me about this book is the amount of depth Talia Hibbert gave to both of her main characters, not just Chloe. It’s one of the first rom-coms I’ve read where the male character is as vulnerable as the female, and it really deepened the narrative and my investment in the story. I also thought Chloe’s fibromyalgia was treated with real seriousness—it’s rare you see a character in a rom-com deal with this sort of challenge, and I know that these are real battles that those living with fibromyalgia have to deal with on a daily basis.

This was really enjoyable, although as happens so often in this type of book, I wanted to shake these characters into saying what’s on their mind instead of assuming the wrong thing, to save all of us grief. But that won't stop me from eagerly awaiting Hibbert’s follow-up, which will feature one of Chloe’s sisters.

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