Self Care: a book I’ve wanted to re-read for ages which I finally did–and little did I know that work was about to get rough, so it was well timed 😀
I’d had a pretty chill time of it at work, and thought I’d blow up my sleep schedule by starting and finishing this book in the time zone known as “GO TO SLEEP.”
I’ve found myself wanting to re-read a whole subset of books for a while, and I’m thinking about giving myself a week around December-ish to do just that–no judgement, no shame, just a solid week of revisiting old haunts and old loves while ensconced in a squishy couch with a sweatshirt and a blanket. But even knowing that that time period is coming up, I wanted to re-read this book in particular sooner. I’m not entirely sure why, but I can hazard a few guesses!
One is that the original recommendation comes from a fanfic that I like going back to periodically, since it’s just a quick one shot and from an author whose writing I really enjoy. So I’m in the Blue Castle vibe on the semi-regular.
Two is that the pacing of this book is exactly what I want from romantic novels. Hemmed in by the year-long lease on life that Valancy is given by her doctor, it takes about a year or so for the main acts to happen. She falls for Barney over the course of months, he falls for her over the course of seasons, she becomes a new person over the course of a year. That’s…reasonable? Stories (I’m looking at you, Incense and Sensibility) where the main characters fall for one another or make large scale life changes based on the strength of a single interaction or even a series of interactions over weeks always make me side eye. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen! But it’s just not as believable to me.
Three is that while there’s a romance, the real story is Valancy coming out from under the overwhelmingly oppressive miasma of her first twenty-eight years. A number of the less-positive reviews of this book are about how they couldn’t get behind the character or found the pacing tedious. And it is, honestly, as someone who was going to read “just until the part where she and Barney do x” there was a LOT of painful recounting of the foibles of the Stirling clan to get through. There are multiple parts where LMM goes through, character by character, all of Valancy’s terrible family members. One can cavalierly skip all of those and get to the good parts (i.e., Valancy leaving).