Okay, with a title like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I should have guessed the likelihood of me enjoying this book would be zero. Or pretty close to that. And now I’ve read it, whaddya know? I didn’t enjoy it. And not for the reasons I would have thought. I mean, I expected it to be cheesy, cliché and really unoriginal. Of course, it delivered on all that, but it also had so many other faults. I think the summary of the book can be given in one simple equation:
So let’s break this down further:
Right, let me summarise this (and I’m gonna get pretty spoilery, but it’s improbable that you’ll care when I’m done). So, first of all, there’s the fact that they meet in an airport. And fall in love. Instantly. *Alarm bells already ringing*. Not. Good. Then throw in a generic reason why the girl needs a man to hold her hand throughout the flight (ok for this one, I was expecting something pretty generic like agoraphobia or something, but instead the author threw in a curve ball of making it claustrophobia- big whoop).
Add a clichéd reason of her dreading the trip- because her dad was getting remarried- the internal monologue explaining why this was a *big deal* taking up most of the narrative incidentally did nothing to convince me I should care at all. So really not good.
Then there was the whole thing with the funeral- because the reason the boy was on the flight in the first place was because his dad had died and he was on the way to the funeral. Now I know this was supposed to be a massive twist, because the main character assumed he was going to a wedding (for some reason- lord knows why- I mean who assumes other people are on flights for the exact same reason as you? Does she have no imagination or something? I mean, he’s an English guy on a flight to England, why would you assume he was on his way to a wedding just cos you are?) But the thing that really confused me about this is why he cared about her at all and why he let her sit next to him the whole flight moaning about her problems- I mean surely his mind was on the fact that his dad just died– I mean c’mon- do you expect me to think this is even remotely close to how a regular human being would behave in this situation? What is going on with the characterisation here? (but I’ll get to that in a second). Okay, now if that wasn’t bad enough, for some reason she stalks him to his dad’s funeral when she figures this out that he’s not there for a wedding. Yes, I know, we all really want to be stalked by random people we meet on planes- especially when we’re going through extreme emotional trauma. Makes total sense.
Then throw in the ending where he turns up at her dad’s wedding- cos you know, he has to. I mean, he’s not got anything else on- like, oh I don’t know, his dad’s wake? Seriously, the book just got more ridiculous. Throw in the end with a happy reconciliation with her father and random pairing off of random characters you just met, and you’ll see the reason I was throwing up my hands in despair.
Plus the romance was completely flat and uninteresting. I mean, all it consisted of was stupid discussions on the plane, revolving round things like “what’s your favourite colour?” Seriously??? Who asks that when you’re older than seven anyway?
Okay, it’s already apparent that I think the love interest makes no sense.
But throw in the fact that he’s a walking-talking cliché, and you really have something to talk about. Because, yes, he’s perfect: I mean, he listens to her and understands her and oh-did-I-mention he’s gorgeous to boot. He’s the kind of Boy Scout good guy that makes you want to vomit in real life. And he’s British- but not the kind of British you actually meet in real life- no the kind with the Hugh Grant charm and Oxford educated lineage (I don’t know why, but for some reason, a lot of American books and TV assume that Brits are all either Oxford educated or fishermen). And naturally, he is also uber intelligent- which makes no sense, because the girl is a complete pleb. I mean, she refers to a quote from Alice in Wonderland as a quote from a cartoon- I’m not kidding.
I guess it’s good that she’s found someone who can explain these basic things to her. Because she needs someone to breathe some life into her character. I mean, there is literally nothing interesting about her. After finishing this book, I was trying to decide what I could say about her character and realised there was absolutely nothing. Because apart from being really whiney about her parents’ divorce, there is absolutely nothing to her.
And this was the nail in the coffin. It was glaringly obvious after just a few pages that this book should have been written in first person. I actually have *no idea* why the author opted for third person limited, considering the fact that the entire book was basically a first person, stream of consciousness. It reminded me of why I am so against writing advice that gives you the “either or” options (basically tells you: YOU MUST PICK ONE NARRATIVE VOICE AND NEVER CHANGE THAT OR YOU WILL CONFUSE PEOPLE- I mean, sure if you head-hop, and you’re bad at it, or you throw in an omniscient narrator out of the blue, it can be bad- but any writer worth their salt can easily do this without confusing their reader. I could give you a thousand examples). I just felt like the author had swallowed the rule book and for that reason the book was bad, without having anything technically wrong with it. I mean, it had the “right” level of flowery language and just a smattering of well-placed metaphors. And it had the occasional flashback to make it “interesting”. I bet it was some editor’s idea of a wet dream- but it did not make for a good read.
It all added up to a big pile of nothing. The only positive thing I can say about this book is that it’s not as bad as some other books I’ve read. And it was relatively short, so the experience was short, if not entirely painless.
Rating: 1/5 bananas