I’ve said I’m unsure if I want to do real book reviews on this blog, but I do want to talk about Love & Other Carnivorous Plants because REASONS. First, I really, REALLY wanted to love this book because it was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I was really excited to read a book about a girl dealing with eating issues, mental illness, and queer stuff, because that is basically me in a book. There were some things I liked in this book, but other things I didn’t quite go for, so I’m going to go over a few of those things…
- Queer rep. I didn’t notice this while reading, but Florence Gonsalves really doesn’t place a label on Danny’s sexuality, which I think is a good thing because Danny herself is so unsure of herself and only just beginning to explore her queer parts. The queer stuff was also sad to read though, because Danny dealt with a lot of self-doubt, and her BFF, Sarah, who is kind of a jerk in general, says some homophobic things that struck me as very immature, yet also reminded me that homophobia happens at all ages, which was not exactly pleasant to be reminded of.
- Mental illness/eating disorder rep. I thought Danny’s struggle to deal with her mental health and eating disorder were very realistic. Even if you go to an institution to deal with mental health issues, it’s not always an uphill battle once you get out. It was disheartening to see her continue to fall back into old harmful habits and struggle so much coupled with all of the other depressing things in the book, but I think it’s also important to show that recovering from mental illness is a long road and by no means a straight line.
- Voice. Danny’s voice was for sure the strongest aspect of the story. Honestly, if her voice were less unique, biting, and interesting, I probably would’ve DNF’ed the book pretty early on because basically nothing good happens. Danny reminded me a little bit of Jane Sinner from Nice Try, Jane Sinner since they had similarly dark, gritty voices.
- The twist. I was NOT a fan of the tragic twist that happens halfway through the novel. It seemed trite and what happened before the twist happened was just so, so cliche. I also didn’t like the character the twist happened to, so it was hard to feel anything about Danny’s struggles with it after it happened. It was just very cliche and overdramatic and seemed to take the story in a different direction than it really needed to.
- The ending. I’m…still not quite sure what happened at the end?? I’m a fan of unresolved endings, but I like having at least a little idea of what could happen after the book ends. With Love, I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA. Does Danny go back to the institution? Does she stand up to her parents? Does she get better? Do she and Bugg get back together? Is Bugg even really important to her story in the end? None of these questions are even hinted at, and after an extremely depressing, unsatisfying story, the ending simply annoyed me.
Can someone else please read this even though I just gave it a horrible review so I can have someone to talk to about it please?