Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: Love Rehab

By Jami Deise

**Giveaway is now closed**

I’ve often thought it was a good thing I went to college in the 1980s, rather than now. I was a horrible prospective/current/ex-girlfriend, having perfected ways to stalk my romantic prey that I thought were quite forward-thinking, if not soap operatic (dating the brother really does work). If I were in dating mode now, with texting and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, I’d probably end up getting arrested.

None of the women featured in Jo Piazza’s novel Love Rehab end up in jail, although one of them is on probation for drunk driving. Love Rehab is an incredibly real, rip-roaringly funny look at all the ways women in the digital age have for obsessing over their ex-boyfriends. Sophie, having been dumped by her boyfriend Eric in favor of the assistant whom she refers to as Floozy McSecretary, texts him constantly and keeps track of his comings and goings by creating sock puppets to friend the Floozy and follow her on Twitter. When her best friend Annie is forced to attend AA, Sophie tags along and realizes she is as addicted to love as the 12-steppers are addicted to alcohol. After confessing to the group leader, Joe, that she isn’t really an alcoholic – that all the crazy stories she told were prompted by a man, not by a bottle – Joe suggests she start her own group – for love addicts.

Sophie’s New Jersey home (which she inherited from her grandmother) quickly becomes overrun by women addicted to love. There’s the yoga instructor, the pregnant Indian woman whose fiancé is living with another woman, the woman whose boyfriend is starring on a Bachelor-like TV show. As Sophie works to help these women, she starts to realize how her own behaviors – and her addiction to love – contributed to the ugly deaths of her relationships. Love Rehab is “a novel in 12 steps,” and Sophie seeks to use them to recover from her addiction. As she gets closer to the women in the group, Sophie makes headway in getting over Eric. But now Joe is starting to look pretty good. Is their connection real, or just another symptom of Sophie’s love addiction?

Love Rehab is a comedy, but the book addresses real issues. Why do women feel such pressure to be in a relationship? How does a diet of romantic comedy movies and TV shows like The Bachelor affect the way women perceive the development of relationships? Why do we wonder what our children will look like when we’re on a first date? Author Piazza doesn’t necessarily have the answers to these questions, but they are questions worth pondering.

I loved the book, and only had two quibbles with it. One, there were so many women coming and going out of that New Jersey house that I had trouble keeping track of who they were and their stories. Two, Sophie’s best friend Annie doesn’t seem to have any of the love issues that any of the other women have. She also happened to be gay. I would have enjoyed a deeper exploration of Annie’s character – who takes to AA without ever looking back – in contrast to the other women. Did she have the same issues with the women she dated? If not, what did she know that the other women didn’t? Sophie’s high school boyfriend was happily married to a man. I would have found it interesting, with so many stories about love-addicted heterosexual women (and later, one man), to read about what those issues looked like for same-sex couples.

Other than those nitpicks, the rest of the book was wonderful. If you’ve recently been dumped and you’re stalking your ex through his new girlfriend’s Facebook posts, please pick up this book instead. You’ll laugh and you’ll heal.

Even though I was dating during the days of rotary phones in the dorm hallways, technology can have an uncanny way of peering into your past. Yes, I’ve looked up ex-boyfriends on Facebook. I even friended the one – the only one! – from whom I parted on friendly terms. But the other day, after a former neighbor connected with me through LinkedIn, I scrolled through the page of people LinkedIn thought I might know. And that one ex-boyfriend who never showed up on Facebook was right there.

And no, I didn’t send him a request to connect. But I did change my profile picture to a much more flattering one, while scratching my head wondering how LinkedIn knew I knew him. The addiction never does go away.

Thanks to Open Road Media for the book in exchange for an honest review. They also have FIVE e-books for some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

How to win:
Tell us the craziest thing you ever did to win over a potential or past love interest.

One entry per person.

Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win. Entries without contact information will NOT be counted.

Open worldwide. Giveaway ends October 6th at midnight EST.

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Jessica said...

Honestly I can't really answer this question because I've never done anything to win over a love interest. Sorry I'm boring!

-Jessica M

Nova said...

I haven't ever done anything like that. The only thing i can think of is that my best guy friend was someone I was crushing on; and I finally just told him the truth,that i had feelings for him.
sparkle40175 AT hotmail DOT com

kwaskewich said...

At my high school friend's engagement party, I saw her brother (who i've had a crush on for many years) and we started talking. Well, later that night (after a few glasses of wine), I Facebook messaged him - I know I know....

Well turns out, he was just shy and said he liked me for years. So we went on a date the next week and really hit it off...1 year and 3 months later, he proposed this past weekend and now we're engaged!

Jodi marinich said...

I havent done anything crazy just tried to be where he was...it worked..lol..jmarinich33@aol.com

Linda Kish said...

I never did anything crazy to win over a guy. It's not in my nature.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

Haven't done anything crazy

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

a pile of good things said...

I'm too shy to do crazy things!! Besides, I only dated one person and now I'm marrying him. ;)


a pile of good things said...

Oops, in case it wasn't clear: apileofgoodthingsATgmail.com

Unknown said...

I asked a guy I liked to prom...but he turned me down :(


Mary Preston said...

I moved across country to be near him.


Unknown said...

I moved to a city close to where he lived so that we could see each other often. maggiestilson at hotmail dot com

Jennifer L. said...

I changed universities to be closer to him (stupid move and I eventually ended up going back to my first university).
jentam777 at gmail dot com

Hailey Fish said...

I haven't done anything crazy for love. I've only been in one serious relationship and he chased me.


Melissa said...

Thanks to everyone for participating and telling us the crazy things you did (or didn't do) for love.

Thanks to Open Road Media for sharing the book with our winners.

Random.org chose FIVE winners from all entries with contact info (one entry per person).

Congrats to:
5-Linda Kish
7-a pile of good things
8-Bridget O'Neill
10-Magnolius T.
11-Jennifer L.

Melissa said...

Two of our winners did not reply within the 48 hour time-frame, so I have chosen two others.

Congrats to:

Melissa said...

One of the new winners did not respond within the time frame, so we've chosen a new winner.

Congrats to Mary Preston!