Monsicha Hoonsuwan's Reviews > You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning
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Aug 08, 12

bookshelves: chick-lit
Read from August 07 to 08, 2012

I'm giving this book five stars for its logical and realistic story-telling. It's a dramatic story that isn't overly dramatized by characters who act like reality stars. You can expect to read about people who can think, act, a talk like a reasonable adult who doesn't storm out banging doors after every misunderstanding.

I had gotten into the book thinking it was one of those quick-read women's novels with a relatable lead character—albeit a two-dimensional one. Except Neve was nothing like that. The author had taken time with her narrative, developing circumstances and back stories that allow Neve to evolve into a real human being throughout the book. Readers will appreciate that Manning's characters don't do things because she wanted them to. They do because circumstances lead them to logically decide on doing, saying or even thinking something. There is no rushing into her 'pancake relationship' with Max after a sudden wanton realization, for example. Building relationships and bringing a character some enlightenment take time, and Manning kept that in mind while writing the book. Which is one reason why her story is so seamless.

Once I've gotten over the realization that this isn't going to be a quick read, I've started to appreciate her prose style. I'm not quite familiar with British writing style, but having read a few British chick-lits, I can tell you that Manning is a good writer. Her choices of words, analogies, similes and all sorts of other descriptive stuff prompt you to empathize with the characters—even if she's writing from a third-person perspective. I didn't notice any "sweet like sugar" cliches in the book, which proves to me that chick-lits can sometimes have high literary value.

Lastly, and perhaps the most impressive feature of this book, is Manning's perception of the overarching issue: weight. Here, she exceeded my expectation by providing a very vivid emotional struggle Neve has to go through—something that has developed from a small childhood insecurity to the sole determinant of self—that if Manning ever says she's never gone through that kind of struggle, I would point my finger and call her a liar. Neve is a good-hearted person with quirks and a severe case of self-loathing. This isn't a person with superficial insecurities like too small breasts or flat buttocks. It's real. It's complex. It's harmful to the point of self-destruction. It's a mental health issue. But Manning managed to describe it so no readers ever question Neve's motives. It's not easy, and I really respect Manning for being able to pull it off.
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Quotes Monsicha Liked

Sarra Manning
“That was the worst thing about having a relationship with someone, even a pretend relationship. You opened up, let someone in, and when it was over, they had all the ammunition they needed to completely destroy you.”
Sarra Manning, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

Sarra Manning
“The thing about love was that it caught you unawares, turned up in the most unexpected places, even when you weren't looking for it.”
Sarra Manning, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

Sarra Manning
“What you look like is just one part of who you are - but it's not all you are.”
Sarra Manning, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me


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