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A Little Love Story

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  733 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
In A Little Love Story, Roland Merullo—winner of the Massachusetts Book Award and the Maria Thomas Fiction Award—has created a sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious tale of attraction and loyalty, jealousy and grief. It is a classic love story—with some modern twists.

Janet Rossi is very smart and unusually attractive, an aide to the governor of Massachusetts, but she suf
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Vintage (first published 2005)
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Alex by Frank DefordSixty-Five Roses by Heather Summerhayes CariouNot a Wasted Breath by LaRecea Tabor GibbsA Little Love Story by Roland MerulloForever Changes by Brendan Halpin
Best Books on Cystic Fibrosis
4th out of 31 books — 23 voters
A Teeny Taste of Scandal by Michael Lee WestEvil Eclairs by Jessica BeckDonut Days by Lara ZielinPear Shaped by Stella NewmanPowdered Peril by Jessica Beck
D'oh! - Donuts on the Cover
14th out of 45 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,461)
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Jan Risher
Aug 28, 2009 Jan Risher rated it really liked it
A stranger sent this book to me. I thought it was because he or she thought I would like the book. In that sense, she was right. I enjoyed the book much more than I expected. The story shouldn't work, but it does. When I got to the last page of the book, much to my surprise, the stranger who sent it has written a note, in a type of handwriting that can only be described as "grandmotherly." The appearance of the note jolted me. I had no idea it was there until I turned the page.

It said:
In the sp
Read It Forward
Apr 27, 2011 Read It Forward rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
My very favorite love story. Unsentimental, without cliche, Roland Merullo's novel goes to the heart of what it means to love someone. A great choice for book groups - lots to discuss, including the male narrator, who presents his love with a raw honesty that's moving and absolutely unique.
Oct 31, 2011 Lynn rated it really liked it
On the face of it, and given the title, this would normally be the type of book I would shy away from. The last two books by Roland Merullo were so outstanding though, that when this was on the shelf at the library, I just had to take it home. I am so glad I did. Jake is a painter/carpenter with a tragic past. Janet is one of the governor's top aides with a seemingly tragic future. Sounds like time to reach for the Dramamine, right? And in other hands, that might be the case. In Merullo's grip, ...more
May 11, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love-stories
This is the fourth or so book I have read by Merullo. I was not particularly find of Golfing With God. I really liked American Savior, and I would have to say that this book probably ties for first place as my favorite Merullo book, Breakfast With Buddha.

This book was not as heavy on spirituality as some of his other books and didn't hold a lot of answers, but it reminded me that no matter how hard the situation is, no matter how hard the battle, you cannot give up.

I literally had to go back an
May 08, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-favs

One of my favorites. Very touching story with great characters. I found it difficult to put down. The surface story about two lonely people who almost seem desperate develops to expose a painful history and joy filled albeit quirky relationship in the present. If you've ever wasted time dwelling on the past or over planning the future this book can help show you how to be grounded and appreciative of the present.
The Bookloft
Jan 21, 2016 The Bookloft rated it it was amazing
Bookseller: Ev

This is the kind of life-enriching reading experience we all long for: a story that pulls us so deeply into the lives of its characters that we hate to resurface. Much more than a little love story, Merullo's fine novel paints a portrait of love in all its complex and wild dimension: the love that passes between lovers, the love of family and friends, the love of God and work and creativity; love in all its hues of selfishness and greed, humor and anger, passion and pain. I'm alre
May 03, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Although some of the reviews I read equated it to Erich Segal's "Love Story" from the 70s (which I read ages ago and even saw the movie), I think it has so much more to offer. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the first opening chapters, but found myself eventually glued to the story. I loved the quirky sense of humor of the main character, the several references to Greek Americans, the medical aspects of the book, as well as how the story took place in Boston (lots of refer ...more
Feb 25, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
Recommended to Amy by: co-worker
Shelves: 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2011 Ingrid rated it really liked it
I have read a few of Merullo's books and have always enjoyed them very much. I think that Merullo is a wonderful writer and really brings his characters alive. This book did not disappoint. Jake meets Janet Rossi after a year of grieving for his girlfriend who died on 9/11. He and Janet fall in love, but Janet is very ill with cystic fibrosis. After a few months together it is clear that her lungs are giving out. This is the kind of story that could be very sappy or become a soap opera, but it n ...more
GariRae Gray
May 18, 2016 GariRae Gray rated it it was ok
When a writer's attempt at similes and metaphors don't resonate with me, then I shut down. When descriptors are clumsy, I start skimming them in a effort to finish the story. That's how "A little Love Story" was to me. The protagonist was too quick to fall for a woman with a terminal illness, and too stable in those feelings. Several times, a sentence or two would be spent fighting pity.-thats it. A more well-rounded character would have had more difficulty, but Jake was surprisingly perfect t i ...more
May 24, 2015 Patricia rated it it was amazing
I read a book this week, and it made an
impression on me- enough of one to
have me write this review which, let me
tell you, is not easy for me to do on my
phone. It is well written, without glaring
grammatical errors that cause me to stumble
while reading, and think 'huh?" to myself. AI read a book this week, and it made an
impression on me- enough of one to
have me write this review which, let me
tell you, is not easy for me to do on my
phone. It is well written, without glaring
grammatical errors that c
Nov 28, 2014 Grace rated it it was ok
I read through 172 pages of a 270 odd pages of this book when a vague memory surfaced..
That I had indeed read this book a few years back, disliked it at precisely the same page !

There are parts of the book that read well and I had suffered the protagonists up to a point..
till I told myself, that I was under no compulsion to finish the book.

Dec 29, 2010 Kim rated it it was amazing
Loved, Loved, Loved this book will not be getting rid of it !!I just read it about 2 weeks ago and alreay I am ready to read it again .In fact I am going to try some of Merullo's other titles !!
May 23, 2010 Katie rated it it was amazing
I loved that it was a very realistically modern love story. There's nothing mushy gushy about it. It dealt with real life issues and the effects on people and relationships.
Karen Hoover
Jan 30, 2016 Karen Hoover rated it really liked it
I LOVE Roland Merullo's writing style and adored the 'Buddha' series, as well as "The Talk Funny Girl." He writes with such empathy for the human struggle to be good, and do good, and just to survive against all odds. I knew I would be affected by this short novel as I have friends whose twin grandsons have cystic fibrosis (as does Merullo's daughter). I was not wrong. This is a different kind of love story with characters who have flaws and who struggle to survive, and who support each other wh ...more
Aug 14, 2010 Maria rated it liked it
I enjoyed this but it was also torture. The story itself is heartbreaking and to top it off, the ending really left me hanging.
Mar 01, 2016 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I didn't think I was going to like this story, but as the story developed I found myself liking it very much. It is quite different from most love stories. The story begins a year after a tragic event which the male character's last relationship ended. When he meets the lead female character he decides to make an effort to reenter the dating scene. Each character carries with them baggage that they each must learn to live with in their own way and the result is a deep love shown in the ...more
Feb 23, 2015 Pammy rated it really liked it
I just found this one on the shelf--- no doubt pulled to the title. Who doesn't like a Little Love Story once in a while. I was unfamiliar with the author, so went into the book totally unbiased.
I am an RN, and within a few chapters I thought: on earth can this story based on a woman with end stage cystic fibrosis possibly end well???
But in Roland Merullo's hands, all things are possible. His smartly crafted story manages to be funny, goofy, sexy, romantic, sad, informative, hopeful, a
Sep 27, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book but it left me wondering WHY this couple got together. I felt the dialogue and reasoning given in the book were not satisfactory to explain their love. Don't get me wrong, I am glad they found each other, but doesn't it take more than mutual need and loneliness to make a meaningful love relationship? Also, what is up with the non-ending ending? Please explain the date range listed on the last page. It left me shaking my head and rereading for missing information. I could neve ...more
Rebecca Smith
Apr 05, 2013 Rebecca Smith rated it it was amazing
Very few novels will capture you right off the bat as this novel will. Especially when you know (or think you know) the basic story and outcome of the book. I could barely put this novel down, and kept breathless until the very end.
It gives nothing of the story away to say that this is a love story, and one that appears by first glance, a tragic one. You know the old fairy tale about boy meeting girl, boy falling in love with girl, girl dying of terminal illness...oh wait, you haven't heard abou
Jun 30, 2010 Carol rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2013 Latarsha rated it it was amazing
It's like this: we all operate from the same collection of words to express ourselves and our thoughts but there is something about Roland Merullo's writing style that makes you wish you could use the words he works with to express yourself. I found myself thinking after each paragraph that the only way to talk about the two main characters, Jake and Janet, is the way he wrote it. It's like he eviscerated any other options.

"A Little Love Story" is not a big book, it's not full of action and the
Apr 23, 2015 Annette rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
For the dialogue alone this book is worth a read. Then there's the writing which rings so true its takes a second run through to grasp the beauty of Merullo's craft. The characters are as vital as good neighbors, suffused with a generous humanity and the story line brings all the flavors of love into focus. This book is a pleasure to read slowly, to savour and enjoy like warm, melting chocolate - if you can stay in the Present!
Jan 31, 2016 Nate263 rated it it was ok
Started this because of a paragraph I read on here that I liked. Turned out that was the best paragraph in the book (at least in the first 120 pages, which is where I stopped). Saccharine, bland, a main character whose quirky jokes I think are supposed to be endearing but in reality fall very flat, an ending I suspect I can already guess. No thanks.
Tom Davis
Sep 06, 2014 Tom Davis rated it really liked it
I had already read two of Merullo's books, the Buddha pair, when I saw that this one was about a woman with cystic fibrosis. Since I know a woman with cystic fibrosis, I thought I would read it as well. I liked it better than the Buddha books. The characters mostly seemed real, though some of the situations were contrived, but that was so he could tie a lot of pieces together in the final pages. Well done for a fun read.
Amy Kitchell-Leighty
I don’t normally read these types of books, but a friend gave me this book so I thought I’d give it a whirl. At first I was pleasantly surprised and thought maybe that I might like it. Then around page 75, the book slapped me in the face and said, “I’m a clichéd love story! Stop acting like I’m not!” I then began getting annoyed due to figuring out the easy plot or by reading clichéd lines. The main character—I‘ve already forgotten his name—is supposed to be in his late twenties but he acts more ...more
Susan Henderson
Oct 05, 2014 Susan Henderson rated it liked it
Characters- I actually liked (except the main girl, really)
story- was ok
Writing- above average
Ending- surprisingly liked it

Thing I disliked most- makes you short of breath and you start to wonder if YOU have CF. So, remember to take deep breaths.
Sarah B.
Feb 28, 2014 Sarah B. rated it really liked it
The book was witty, but at times a little sad. I'm a little disappointed in the ending. I wanted to know more, but that always seems to be the case with books I read...I'm always longing for more. I suppose that's a good thing?! It's a sad but hopeful story. Definitely worth reading.
Nov 12, 2015 Patty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a nicely paced story with some appealing characters and enjoyable dialogue. However, at the risk of seeming overly picky, his constant use of the word "alright" drove me nuts. C'mon. How hard is it to write "all right"?
Laura Irrgang
Jake and Janet meet, fall in love, and deal with Janet's cystic fibrosis while trying to lead a normal life. The characters are fleshed out nicely, and it's interesting to read a romance written from a man's point of view. However, the book just didn't stick with me very long after I read it. I finished it last week, and I'm already forgetting key points. I had to pick it back up to remember some of the plot line.

I found it readable and pleasant, but a tad bland. Then again, I'm not a big romanc
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ROLAND MERULLO is the acclaimed author of twelve previous books, including Revere Beach Boulevard, In Revere in Those Days, A Little Love Story, Golfing with God, Breakfast with Buddha, Lunch with Buddha and American Savior. Merullo has won numerous prizes, including the Massachusetts Book Award for both fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.
More about Roland Merullo...

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“I felt I was drawing close to that age, that place in life, where you realize one day what you'd told yourself was a Zen detachment turns out to be naked fear. You'd had one serious love relationship in your life and it had ended in tragedy, and the tragedy had broken something inside you. But instead of trying to repair the broken place, or at least really stop and look at it, you skated and joked. You had friends, you were a decent citizen. You hurt no one. And your life was somehow just about half of what it could be.” 53 likes
“Families are like countries. They have their own language and jokes and secrets and assumptions about the right and wrong ways of doing things, and some of that always shows in the children, the way something of
Germany or Australia always shows in a German or an Australian, no matter where they go. Outsiders like it or they don't, they feel at home there or they don't. It's like the taste of cilantro.

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