In the midst of all the romance books I’ve read in the past year or so, this comes off as being such a breath of fresh air. I’d heard that it was good, so I had some relatively high expectations prior to starting, but I’m quite happy that Get A Life, Chloe Brown did not disappoint me one bit. It wasn’t precisely perfect, meaning it didn’t give me those 5 star flutters in the deepest parts of my chest, but it was still a very good book.
I think one of my favourite things about this book was the writing style. Almost always, I find romance books are written in first person, which I never complain about; it’s hard to explain (although I tried the other day!) but I personally feel like that particular POV is perfectly suited for romance books and I prefer to be in the first person state of mind when reading a contemporary romance. But it was interesting how Talia Hibbert decided to write this story in third person, but more surprising that I didn’t hate it and actually felt like it fit. If something like this happens, where the expected POV isn’t what you get, then it’s a true testament to the author as a writer and how they were able to make that POV style right for their book. Get what I’m saying? But I really think Hibbert nailed her style and I found it to be that of a dry humorous type of style where the narrator was a third party observer (with absolutely no personal interest in the matter) and while majority of the time the thoughts of Chloe and Red would be expressed, the narrator would occasionally interject with comments of what they, I suppose, thought of the situation. Sort of like that meme. My point is that I found the writing style to be incredibly entertaining and clever, all while encapsulating the characters and their relationship quite nicely.
When I first opened the book, there was an author’s note/warning that the subject of an abusive relationship would come up in the story and I was confused initially, thinking that it didn’t line up with what I thought Chloe’s character would be and how she could possibly come from a relationship like that. But I ended up being fooled because the person who was in an abusive relationship was actually Red, and when I discovered that, I was kind of amazed that Hibbert decided to make her male character the one who’d been abused by an ex-girlfriend but also disappointed in myself for automatically seeing the word abuse and thinking of course it’s the female character. That wasn’t fair to anyone, fictional or not. So I loved that Hibbert decided to highlight how men can also be victims of abusive relationships, something we don’t quite think about as much as we should, and showed not only how deeply it affected him but how hard he was working to let go of all that happened to him. And as Chloe often noticed, Red always presented himself in such a confident way that you’d never know what happened to him and I think that’s something we need to start thinking about more. I loved that Hibbert wrote Red this way, and loved the way she wrote him moving forward and working to be better, and thought it was a really great way to write a male character.
As for the relationship with Chloe and Red, I thought they were incredibly well matched and simply explosive. I felt like they were different enough that they would balance each other out, but also similar in the way that they’d be able to understand each other on a deeper level. I hated that Chloe had been in a past relationship where her fiance constantly dismissed her illness and her pain, never believing her, and that in turn made her feel like she wasn’t worthy of someone caring for her in the way she deserved. But seeing how Red could ensure her comfort and constantly think of her and check in with her was so incredibly heartwarming and absolutely melted me. And then to see how Chloe would constantly validate Red, whether it was just who he was or for his art, and to see how much that meant to him, really showed how perfect they were for one another. It was all of these little things that were meant to show how much they loved each other and I think it was something the reader can absolutely pick up on and I thought it was great. I personally would’ve liked it if they went on a few dates here and there, had more time to build a relationship I suppose before declaring their love, but I can’t complain all too much.
While I think this was a great romantic comedy and focused on building a balanced type of relationship with someone, I think overall the biggest takeaway is learning to love and accept yourself, something that Chloe had to do to believe she had a life worth living instead of completing a “life changing” list. It’s something that everyone is constantly working on (or at least I am) and I really admired that Chloe was able to realize this about herself. So in the end, you come in to this book wanting to see Chloe and Red fall in love but you leave realizing that the person Chloe needed to love most was herself. And I think that’s utterly beautiful.
Also, Talia Hibbert if you’re reading this and want to be friends I would very much like to be friends with you. So if you want to be friends and I want to be friends we should be friends if that’s what we both want to be.
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?
• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.
Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.
But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…