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I Think I Love You Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 8, 2011
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Pearson (I Don't Know How She Does It) dips into Nick Hornby country in her slick latest. In 1974 Wales, 13-year-old Petra is in love with David Cassidy, an obsession she shares with her best friend, Sharon. When they hear that Cassidy is playing a concert in London, the girls sneak away to see him, bringing Petra into brief contact with Bill, who writes for The Essential David Cassidy Magazine. Nearly 25 years later, Petra is separated and seeing how she had sacrificed her ambitions for her husband's when, after her mother's funeral, she discovers a letter her mother had intercepted years before. The letter was informing Petra she had won the Ultimate David Cassidy Quiz, and her prize was a trip to meet the star in California. A magazine picks up the story of Petra's missed opportunity, and suddenly Petra and Sharon, along with Bill, who now works for this magazine, are headed to Las Vegas for a belated meeting. Petra has a piercing wit and a boundless charm, but it's Pearson's insights into friendship, celebrity worship from the inside out, and the knocks you take in life that create a winning novel of hope, lost and found. (Feb.) (c)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
During the 1970s, Welsh teenager Petra and her best friend, Sharon, are wild for pop singer David Cassidy, along with millions of other fans the world over. They spend huge chunks of their leisure time perusing The Essential David Cassidy Magazine for clues to David’s likes and dislikes, unaware that most of the material is being created out of whole cloth by ne’er-do-well English major William Finn, whose take on the cherubic singer is a good deal more acerbic than theirs. The novel’s second half finds the characters 25 years later as Petra is grieving the death of her mother and the end of her marriage, while Bill is now running an empire of celebrity magazines though still unlucky in love. A lost letter brings them together for a David Cassidy reunion concert, which proves to be a turning point in both of their lives. Pearson is at her best in capturing the way teenage girls use their romantic obsessions with celebrities to work out their fears about real relationships with the opposite sex. An afterword includes Pearson’s delightful 2004 interview with a 54-year-old Cassidy. --Joanne Wilkinson
Top customer reviews
From there, the novel is told in two halves. Part I is set in 1974. The opening line is, "His favorite colour was brown." David Cassidy's, of course. Petra and her best friend Sharon are 13, and like every other girl in Wales they are hopelessly in love with him. Or perhaps not hopelessly. Hope springs eternal in the form of Petra's innocent fantasies:
"I would be hit by a car. Not a serious injury, obviously, just bad enough to be taken to hospital by ambulance. David would be told about my accident and he would rush to my bedside. Things would be awkward at first, but we would soon get talking and he would be amazed by my in-depth knowledge of his records, particularly the B-sides. I would ask him how he was enjoying the fall and if he needed to use the bathroom. It would not be at all weird, it would be cool. David would be impressed by my command of American. Jeez. He would smile and invite me to his house in Hawaii where I would meet his seven horses and there would be garlands round our necks and we would kiss and get married on the beach. I was already worried about my flip-flops."
The beginning of the novel is about Petra and Sharon; mothers and daughters; and first love, insecurity, and what it is to be 13 years old. I'm American and these girls are Welsh, but the feelings they have are universal, and I don't know a woman who won't relate to their growing pains with nostalgia and perhaps a little remembered pain of her own.
It is also about Bill Finn, the recent college grad with the unenviable job of inventing content for the Essential David Cassidy Magazine. The first half comes to head with all of the central characters at the infamous White City concert where a young fan lost her life. Cassidy retired not long after at the age of 24, and Petra, Sharon, and Bill grew up.
The second half of the novel jumps forward approximately 25 years to 1998, and opens with the line: "The day her mother died, she found out her husband was leaving her." Thus proving that being 38 isn't necessarily any easier than being 13. It is while mourning both her mother and her marriage that Petra discovers the letter from 1974 informing her that she and Sharon were the winners of the Ultimate David Cassidy Quiz and an all expense paid trip to meet David on the set of The Partridge Family. Her mother kept it from her; she never knew.
The Essential David Cassidy Magazine hasn't existed for years, but their old offices still house magazine publishers. When Petra dials the number on the 25-year-old letter, she does indeed reach someone who thinks a decades-delayed meeting with David Cassidy would make a great human interest story. And so it is that our three protagonists (four if you count David Cassidy) are reunited, all these years later, for a trip to Vegas that just may change some lives.
"One boy with a shoe, and one girl without: it could be a scene from a fairy tale... reason cowered before romance. According to romance, there was no coincidence. That was the word that nonlovers used, sad souls in the everyday world, to account for the workings of destiny."
Does it get any better than that? I enjoyed the nostalgia of the first half of this novel, but I'm a grown woman. I know the adult pain that life brings. I LOVED the second half of this novel, for the relatable reality of Petra's life and compromises, for the humor that friendship brings to lighten the load, and for giving me a fairy tale that I could believe in.
The time is the early 1970s. Petra is growing up in south Wales and is totally in love with teen heartthrob David Cassidy. She collects information about him, avidly reads fan mags and dreams of one day meeting him.
Little does she know that the personal letter to fans is not written by David but by a young wannabe journalist sitting behind a desk in a sleazy office in London.
Petra wants to be in the in-crowd in high school but she can't quite get into the inner circle. She courts the favors of the queen bee -- while fending off the emotional assaults of her bitter mother.
It's all put together very successfully and ends in a satisfying denouement. I don't think this is great literature but it is great entertainment and it carries a ring of truth.
The book has two storylines: one following a Welsh girl named Petra beginning when she was 13 and the other following a young man named Bill starting after college graduation. Both stories intertwine at points and follow how the character's life is affected by the 70's teen heartthrob David Cassidy. I think the author does a wonderful job accurately portraying the woes of being a female teenager. The only complaint I could see people having is that the ending may be a little too perfectly happy...but I rather enjoyed it all the same. A fun little read!
If you were a teen idol fan in those innocent days of the late 60's and early 70's, I recommend this highly. Teen idol fans of any era will find points to identify with, but there's something about that pre-Internet era, when a long distance phone call was still a big event, that has its own special atmosphere.
Allison Pearson, thanks for a lovely few hours of reliving some special days in my life. Job well done!
(And P.S. - My dad was kind enough to drive me to the airport to see David Cassidy arrive in town for a concert back in the day. Thanks to some fumbling around on my part, looking for a good vantage point, I ended up standing right in front of *him* as he came through the arrival gate. And was promptly struck completely mute. Ah, the good old days...)