April 8, 2014

Wicked Review: The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

(That's probably the longest title of a 200+ pages book I have ever seen.)

Published: January 2, 2012
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Acquired: Digital Copy


Of all the things that could go wrong the day before her life changes, Hadley Sullivan is four minutes lates for her flight. FOUR MINUTES! She has to be in London the next day for her father's second wedding to a lady she has never met in person and she doesn't really plan to meet her in person.

Stuck in the JFK airport, she meets Oliver and just like her, he is bound for London. And they even get to sit in the same row at the airplane.

The night passes with them talking about mayo and flies. Suddenly, Hadley doesn't want to land in London if it means parting with Oliver.

The synopsis I gave above hardly does justice for the content of this book. At first I thought this was going to be cliche but it's not. I mean, it's not only about Hadley and Oliver falling in love, it's about second chances too.

I can say I can put myself in Hadley's shoes. Having your parents separate and then divorce hurts already but having to see one of them remarry is the cherry on top of that sundae of misery. It makes you think why did they do that? Why can't they work things out? The answer is, well, we may never know.

I like how Hadley slowly accepts the fact that her father is going to remarry. I mean, the acceptance part is the hardest part. But she face it with her chin up high. Slowly but surely, she is taking her father back again.

And then there's Oliver. He's not as dreamy as I thought he would be. Hadley is on her way to a wedding, while he is on his way to a funeral. Just like Hadley, he's in a struggle as well. His father cheated on his mother. His whole family knew but no one said a thing. What's sad is that you can't say all you want to the person because he's dead and he's somewhere you can't reach him and all you wish you could do is somehow you're pent up frustration and anger will be delivered to him.

When you're stuck in a seven hour flight and you're claustrophobic, all you wish is that your seatmate is someone entertaining. It's been a long time since I rode a plane. And I don't like them. It's scary. Their conversations are enlightening and entertaining too.

Just like this:

Hadley grabs the laminated safety instructions from the seat pocked in front of her and frowns at the cartoon men and women who seem weirdly delighted to be bailing out of a series of cartoon planes.
Beside her, Oliver stifles a laugh, and she glances up again. 
"I've just never seen anyone actually read one of those things before."
"Well," she says, "then you're lucky to be sitting next to me."
"Just in general?"
She grins. "Well, particularly in case of an emergency."
"Right," he says. "I feel incredibly safe. When I'm knocked unconscious by my tray table during some sort of emergency landing, I can't wait to see all five-foot-nothing of you carry me out of here."

Or something like this:

"Those are cumulus clouds. Did you know that?"
"I'm sure I should."
"They're the best ones."
"How come?"
"Because they look the way clouds are supposed to look, they way you draw them when you're a kid. Which is nice, you know? I mean, the sun never looks the way you drew it."

But this is my favorite from the book:

"I'm not sure I even believe in marriage," Hadley says and he look surprised.
"Aren't you on your way to a wedding?"
"Yeah," she says with a nod. "But that's what I mean."
He looks at her blankly.
"It shouldn't be a big fuss, where you drag everyone halfway across the world to witness your love. If you want to share your life together, fine. But it's between two people and that should be enough. Why the big show? Why rub it in everyone's faces?"
Oliver runs a hand along his jaw, obviously, not quite sure what to think. "It sounds like its weddings you don't believe in," he says finally. "Not marriage."
"I'm not such a big fan of either at the moment."
"I don't know," he says. "I think they're kind of nice."
"They're not," she insists. "They're all for show. You shouldn't need to prove anything if you really mean it. It should be a whole lot simpler than that. It should mean something."
"I think it does," Oliver says quietly. "It's a promise
"I guess so," she says, unable to keep the sigh out of her voice. "But not everyone keeps that promise." She looks toward the woman, still fast asleep. "Not everyone makes it fifty-two years, and if you do, it doesn't matter that you once stood in front of all those people and said that you would. The important part is that you had someone to stick by you all the time. Even when everything sucked."

This is not your cliche love story. Absolutely not. It's a lot deeper than that, I tell you.

"I can't believe you're here," she says, her voice soft. "I can't believe you found me."
"You found me first," he says and when he leans to kiss her, it's slow and sweet and she knows that this will be the one she always remembers. Because while the other two kisses felt like endings, this one is unquestionably a beginning.

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, You Are Here, and The Comeback Season. She earned her master's degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. Her writing has been translated into 28 languages.

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