Maximillian Jackson's Reviews > Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto

Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto by Eric Luper
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Sep 09, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: english-412
Read from September 05 to 07, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Seth Baumgartner has been having a pretty crappy day, mostly because The Universe decided to take a giant crap on it. His girlfriend dumps him in Applebee’s (for the same “shovel-chinned” guy that waited on them). Then, he catches his father with his mistress at the same Applebee’s five minutes later. Finally, these two “distractions” make him late for work (again), for which he gets fired. And it’s all only uphill from there.

I was really looking forward to reading this book and while I won’t say I was completely disappointed, the book did not live up to my expectations. The novel has relatable characters, realistic experiences, good humor and even a twist or two toward the end. However, all these elements don’t come together as well as they could to craft a story that stands out among the rest of the YAL world.

I was initially intrigued by the motif of a young man doing a podcast about love but the idea never really takes root. Granted, segments of Seth’s podcast pop up every few chapters but they feel otherwise unneeded because these “special” chapters merely summarize, comment on and continue the narrative, never really adding anything unique to the plot. Seth’s interests in podcasting also seem to take a second seat to his interest in golf and it’s in this aspect that the story truly works.

I actually enjoyed the golf club aspect of the story because it added something new and provided a place for the conflict between Seth and his father to simmer and (in the end) boil over. Although the jargon and sports terms can confuse someone who is not familiar with golf, the scenes play an important part story-wise and thematically, as many important plot threads are sewn from the setting of the golf club and, as in many books featuring sports, golf represents on outlet through which the protagonist expresses himself and channels his (many) frustrations. Specifically when interacting with his father during golf, Seth’s skill at the game rises and falls depending on his own internal monologue about his circumstances.

Another interesting aspect of the novel was the role Seth’s parents in the story. Unlike some books where the parents are uninvolved, not present or cleverly phased out of the picture, Seth’s parents are important, if not, essential to Seth as a character and to the narrative (for both good and ill). Seth’s relationship with his mother is actually close and friendly and positive, her career as a radio host influencing Seth to start podcasting. The father’s subplot involving his “mistress” not only provided the conflict of the story but also rounded out the character of Seth’s father, making him more that just the stereotypical, insensitive, “hard-knocks” dad found in much YAL.

There are many good things about “…Love Manifesto.” It doesn’t break any boundaries, ask many thought-provoking questions, build up killer suspense or dive too deeply into the mystery of the human experience, but it tells a relatable story of a young man trying to figure things out, just to find a world filled with shades of gray where even grown men (like his father) can find themselves lost.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.