The first of my July NetGalley reads (I have one June one left to read, I’m not doing too badly, and several of the others are hopefully light novels. I haven’t got a massive amount to say about this one, but here’s my review …

Natasha Lunn – “Conversations on Love”

(20 April 2021 – NetGalley)

I requested and downloaded this one because I thought it was a book of essays: although it’s called “Conversations …” and does mention that, there’s a contributors list that includes Philippa Perry, Candice Carty-Williams and others.

Instead, it’s a memoir by the author of her life and loves, her yearnings and mistakes, covering wanting to have a relationship, then wanting to have a baby, with some asides about friendship (friendship is covered more fully in the conversations) and loss (in her case, miscarriage and then difficulties conceiving, but discussed again more widely in the conversations). At salient points, she introduces a conversation about an aspect of love with one of the aforementioned experts.

What I liked: it definitely concentrated on the need not to expect one person in a romantic relationship to fulfil all of our needs and the need to have a wide pool of friends, work, even religion to love as well as that one person. Problems in friendships, the loss of friendships and the loss of friends are all dealt with which as much seriousness and respect as those around romantic relationships. I know friends/readers like Thomas Le will appreciate that aspect.

I didn’t love the way the book was organised – there were three large sections but within those you sort of read on and on, oh, there’s a conversation, then on it goes again. Then someone would be mentioned and you thought you were getting another conversation but it was just an aside. I also wasn’t that thrilled to read so much detail about the author’s life (which I do feel bad about: I just wasn’t expecting the book to be about her as such) and what she learned from doing this conversation project over a number of years. It seems a bit heteronormative and White, though the latter is hard to prove without checking the bios of all the interviewees (not provided). Roxane Gay was in there but surely not providing all the diversity. There are lots of good points in the book – kindness is the most important aspect of a long marriage, how various aspects wax and wane, but it didn’t feel that well-organised that you would retain this information.

What I loved: she thanked her transcriber in the acknowledgements! Always lovely to see.

Thank you to Penguin / Viking for choosing me to read this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review.