Title : Love May Fail
Author : Matthew Quick
Narrators : Cris Dukehart, Jim Meskimen, Lorna Raver, Timothy Fannon, Tonya Campos
Genre : Contemporary
Publisher : Harper Audio
Listening Length : 12 hours 5 minutes
Rating : 4/5
Narrator Rating : 5/5
Portia Kane is fed up with her false life. She leaves her wealthy, cheating husband and heads back to her mother’s home in the small town she grew up in. Her sense of self is dented but not broken, because of the positivity she received years ago from her high school English teacher Mr. Nathan Vernon. She believes that she can put her life in order, if she saves someone else’s. And that someone is Mr. Vernon, who Portia learns, has become reclusive and just about disappeared after a traumatic incident with one of his students.
Energized, Portia resolves to give Mr. Vernon back all the help and support that he gave her when she most needed it. Mr. Vernon, when Portia tracks him down, throws a spanner in the works by declaring he doesn’t want to be saved. What is Portia to do?
Quirky and feel-good is how I’d describe this book. It is populated by a host of interesting characters – Portia’s pornographer husband, her hoarder mom, an ex-drug-addict, a rock-loving mom-son pair – not to mention Portia herself. Most of the characters are well-sketched, and I especially liked Mr. Vernon’s character, drawn with such goodness and empathy. Mr. Vernon is almost the ideal teacher, who gives selflessly of himself to all the young people he thinks he can infuse with hope and self-worth. I wish every teacher was like him.
This book has a plot, but it not a plot which I can stake out for you very clearly. Things happen, bound together by a bunch of coincidences. It runs along pretty smoothly until about 75% and then it becomes a bit of a mess. Thankfully it recovers, so I can finish it and still get the warm, fuzzy feeling I get from good books/films. I like the coincidences in the book because they give the book this feel-goody vibe. And I like the book because it ponders (in some very poignant moments) about life, it’s ups and downs, goodness and idealism, hope and despair, and that thing which makes us tick.
The title of the book is from Kurt Vonnegut’s quote “Love may fail, but courtesy will prevail”.
The book is narrated by a bunch of people who do a very good job. The narrator who portrays Portia sounds a little like Gillian Flynn (of Gone Girl fame). And the actor who plays Mr. Vernon’s part is fabulous – he gave his character the depth, gravitas and goodness Mr. Vernon’s portrayal deserved. Beautifully done.