Review Summary: Without a doubt, one of the strangest books I have ever read. Interestingly written with an immediate appeal, an unfortunately slow build-up, but just enough intrigue to keep me reading and surprisingly serious revelations at the end.
The first line is great: "For months I had been trying to be less myself." But the story didn't pick up until about a third of the way through, which is way longer than I'm used to waiting. I would've put the book down had it not been for the great reviews I read.
The narrative voice is strange. So matter-of-fact about unique ideas, self-aware, and borderline sarcastic. I chuckled a couple times and other times, I couldn't help but smile. The concepts in this book are both incredibly creative and realistically executed, which was satisfying. There are moments where the protagonist, an actor, is told to portray emotions or characters, but these exercises weren't typical. Her assignments included regular things like "happy" or "hip", but then there were the creative ones that I would never have thought to write, even if I were trying to be creative: "divorced twice," "nonsmoker," "otherwise," "intramural," "former teammate," and "summarized." It was these minor instances of the author's creativity that I found impressive and unique.
While there is love between characters that runs through the core of this book, it didn't read like a love story. In fact, I hadn't even thought of it as a love story until I read the other reviews and they all mentioned a "love story". In the mere 300 pages, there are a surprising number of developments and plot points that I didn't even realize were important until later revelations. In that, I feel the cover does the story a slight disservice. There's so much more to this book than would immediately come to mind looking at a heart on a book cover.
I can't say I wasn't bored sometimes and that I felt the story seemed to be unnecessarily descriptive of unimportant things, mostly near the beginning; these were the things that led me to want to stop reading it around the 50-70 page mark. However, I'm glad I finished because this has got to be one of the most creative and unique books I've read.