Monday, March 1, 2010

Love Walked In

Love Walked In Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As children, the stories we love most end well. Dorothy wakes up at home with Auntie Em and Toto by her side. The Beast turns back into a prince and he and Belle live happily ever after. Sleeping Beauty opens her eyes after her enchanted sleep to find a prince who is not only handsome, but also just happens to have a beautiful tenor voice. Essentially, the good guy (or girl) wins, the damsel (or the male equivalent of a damsel) is saved, and everyone rides off into the sunset safe, happy, and in love. Fast forward twenty years to the world of stories for adults – Cinderella drives the prince crazy with her compulsion to clean the castle. The Wicked Witch is actually the victim of a loveless upbringing. The sunset is the product of smoke and smog, and the car won’t start because things were so hectic that the “prince” forgot to get gas. The good guy or girl does not always win, not everyone is saved, and "happily ever after" is a hackneyed idea leftover from years before…

That said, every so often a book comes along that breaks the adult mold. Though the realities of heartbreak and tragedy continue to exist, love and goodness reign supreme. And the reader gets to breathe a sigh of relief and sees sun on the horizon instead of a storm. Marisa de los Santos’ “Love Walked In” is enchanting. It was for me, a silver lining book after reading so many sad tales of loss. The writing is lyrical. The details, from the soft touch of a wool sweater to the smell of pancakes, are perfectly vivid. The characters are such that the reader feels as though they too have walked into a Philadelphia coffee house to talk with an old friend.

This book is not perfect, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. De los Santos’ movie references are both brilliant and frustrating. Perhaps with a few more years behind me, I would not have had to look up so many of the films and the actors. What I loved most (besides the “sigh of relief” feeling and beautifully crafted language) were Cornelia and Claire’s references to classic books and characters– heroines like Jo March and Anne Shirley, two characters that have helped alter my stars just as they alter Claire’s. I have never seen my childhood self in a character, but I saw myself in Claire – and though it may sound a bit narcissistic, I loved it. For a brief moment, I glimpsed the world through younger eyes – when fictional characters’ experiences feel like they are your own and when you think there must be a clear reason why people do what they do. Perhaps, best of all, when despite the odds being stacked against you, things feel like they will work out. After all, Anne gets to stay at Green Gables. Sarah Crewe’s father comes home. Jo writes her book. And Claire and Cornelia – well, you’ll just have to read “Love Walked In” to find out.


nikki said...

You have beautifully written book reviews my friend. Amazing. I'll take recommendations from you any time :)

AA Little said...

Love your new background.

Becca said...

I was charmed by this book as well. You have to read the sequel!