December 23, 2022
Like I Can Love
This novel alternates between three narrators – Jenna in the past, Fairlie in the present, and letters from Evelyn to her daughter Jenna.
Right from the start this is a serious novel. Fairlie gets a call from Jenna’s husband to say Jenna is dead. Fairlie rushes over there, and has a really awkward conversation with Ark, the bereaved husband. As is common in these situations, Fairlie goes home thinking about what her contribution to her best friend’s suicide might have been – how she could have supported her better, how she could have recognised Jenna’s desperation and prevented this from happening.
Ark goes AWOL, leaving Fairlie with the couple’s young child.
Then we go back in time and change over to Jenna’s point of view, from the day she met Ark and follow their relationship from the beginning.
Then we return to Fairlie’s chaotic life in a messy flat with a cat, with a neighbour who leaves her dinners on the doorstep. This provides a friendly interlude between the harrowing drama at the heart of this novel.
This ‘then and now’ structure continues throughout the novel, until they connect in the present moment.
The scary thing is how believable Jenna’s descent is.