I received the book The Hating Game from our Cannonball book exchange, it’s been languishing on my “to read” list on Goodreads forever. But here’s my secret, I haven’t really read many romance novels since maybe 5th grade? Well, I’ve read The Hating Game now, and I have feelings…so, so many feelings. I don’t think I’ve cried reading a book in a very long time. Towards the end I had to stop reading for a stretch because I think I was worrying at least one kid and definitely two dogs. I tried to explain that they were happy tears, but to no avail.
Obviously this has been reviewed and rehashed a thousand times on Cannonball Read so I won’t bother with the premise, I’m going to focus on the character of Josh Templeman. Just as I was overcome with emotion while watching Frozen 2 with my sons and daughter, after seeing Kristof being depicted with complex emotions and feelings, I felt similar things here. The Hating Game turns the trope of the “damaged female” that needs to be fixed with love on it’s side, then steps on it. Here it’s Josh who has the “baggage” but instead of just simply stating it and using it as a plot device, it’s explored and we see how the Josh that Lucy hated was created. Josh isn’t an awful monster of a human being, he’s fragile and worried about being hurt. I was telling my 11 year old about the plot when I finished and he said,”Aren’t boys supposed to keep their shit together?” And to him I said, “No one has their shit together and we all need to be able to let it out in a healthy way…otherwise, no one would know how to help us heal.” And I think that’s the key takeaway of this adorable book. Once Lucy and Josh start to know each other and get to see past what they want the world to see? Then they become allies, true partners that can handle anything thrown at them–and I’m crying again, thinking about this damn book all over again. If you haven’t read it, please do yourself a favor and grab a copy. It’s great.