I Love You Too Much by Alicia Drake
Paris the eternal city of love. A city I have come to love ever since my first visit in the early 1980’s watching young couples in love walking hand in hand by the River Seine. What images this memory conjures.
I Love You Too Much is the debut novel by Alicia Drake (Picador) and the main character is Thirteen-year-old Paul who is somewhat shy and through his eyes we see his world and those adults who inhabit Pauls world. An extraordinary novel set to an extraordinary backdrop.
Paul’s parents are on the cusp of divorce, from the mother is obsessed by shopping and a father who is obsessed by his looks and making sure he stays lean and handsome. But there is beauty in Paul’s life in fact it is everywhere. He cannot escape the beauty of the women that seem to be around his life. Paul though is not loved he is something of a loner, he is addicted to the wrong type of food that contains large amount of sugar or salt and he is overweight. Now he has a baby sister, as his mother has been seeing a guy who thinks he is a rock star and dresses like one! So now Paul is getting even less attention, so his addiction to sugary snacks increases.
You instantly feel sorry for Paul as his family are real achievers in life but Paul seems to fail in his studies much to his father’s chagrin. Paul would rather sit and eat and play computer games. There is going to be a court battle over custody of this unloved boy and yet it is Paul who will lose out no-matter who wins. What this boy wants more than anything is to be loved. In fact, he is silently crying out to be loved. All the signs are there, yet his self-effacing parents just don’t see it.
Paul finds solace in a new girl in School and Scarlett is a bit of a tear-away and does not seem to be bothered by anything or anyone. So a friendship is born and soon they are spending time together after school. You get the sense there is utter heartbreak coming sooner or later and how Alicia Drake draws the reader into Paul’s world.
Our protagonist likes to watch other people and not just within his own family but those that live just across the hall from their apartment. But one day Paul arrives at his father’s apartment and his word is destroyed by what he walks into. Something that shakes his world to its very core. This has effected Paul deeply. His life is shattered.
A family hell bent on seeking admiration of those around them yet this sad and lonely boy is caught up in their own sad Parisian lifestyle. There is evident within this powerful story of self-destruction but they are all too busy with their own lifestyles to see the pain that they create.
I have to say I absolutely loved I Love You Too Much by Alicia Drake. She has created such incredible characters and the pain of adolescence. A novel so powerful and so utterly heartbreaking. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Thank you to Picador Books for the advanced review copy of I Love You Too Much by Alicia Drake.
I Love You Too Much by Alicia Drake is published by Picador and was published on 8th February 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.