Shelly 's Reviews > Adverbs

Adverbs by Daniel Handler
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's review
Mar 30, 2008

it was amazing
Read in March, 2008

I became interested in this book after reading a rave review by a user on this very website (Hey! It works!). I picked the book up yesterday and have already finished it. That never happens with me. Generally there at least 20 naps taken between covers. As you will see if you read any other reviews this "novel" is more a series of intertwined vignettes. All stories about love framed in chapters named after various adverbs: Immediately, Briefly, Obviously, Clearly, Naturally, etc. Also, if you've read other reviews, you'll see that there are people who have a problem with this. The sequences of events don't follow any sort of order, and characters who pop back into different chapters may or may not be recurring--they could just share the same name as a previous character. So it can get confusing and confusion, rightly so, frustrates some readers. I just chose to believe that if there weren't other obvious references to a previously mentioned character, than this was somebody new with the same name. Most experience, after all, is universal. And in the end, it doesn't matter, as Handler says in the book it's not about the people's names, or various recurring themes (like cocktails, magpies, volcanoes, and the Ice Queen)--it's about love and all the various shapes and forms that love takes in our lives. It's not cheesy, there are no tears to be shed (although it's not without its touching moments). It's clever, original, and Handler certainly (clearly, obviously, surely, blatantly,undoubtedly, and definitely--badump bump) has a way with words.
Here's one of my favorite passages:

This is love, saltwater taffy. Pretty much everybody has had some. Somebody offers it on a day when you have nothing to do, and most likely you'll take it and put it in your mouth. It unites us, saltwater taffy, but whose favorite is it? Who likes it best? Just about nobody. So why do we eat it? This love story is about this style of love, this sweet thing that exists unasked for, that everybody eats out of the same bag. But also it is about what it says on the shack. I was there myself, and the large sign said: COME IN AND WATCH US MAKE IT.
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