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I Need You More Than I Love You and I Love You To Bits Hardcover – November 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Ardelius follows the frenetic course of an all-consuming teen love affair from first chance sexual encounter to inevitable atrophy as everyday insecurities encroach. Told through short conversational passages, the narrative is comprised largely of dialogue between Morris and Betty and glimpses into the couple's quiet, intimate moments. Such scenes are interspersed with their inner thoughts (mainly his) and snapshots of Morris's mother and father, who are respectively flighty and manic-depressive. It is these parental weaknesses that feed Morris's own fears about the attraction between two people and indirectly spur the downward trajectory of the relationship. Ardelius's prose, translated from Swedish, poetically bottles the universal delirium and unsustainable pace of first love. American readers expecting a typical teen love story, however, will not find it here. Certain aspects of the story, such as the nonchalance of Betty's mom when her daughter's boyfriend walks downstairs in the morning for breakfast, have a distinctly European ring. This sophistication, both in style and content, may alienate some, but will speak volumes to more worldly teenagers.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
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In this verse novel translated from the Swedish, Morris meets Betty, and the two quickly fall under the sway of an all-encompassing passion. In brief chapters that hover halfway between prose and verse, Ardelius captures the fairly universal feeling that one’s love is absolutely unique. With a heightened emotional sensibility tethered to a knack for pinpointing revealing details, Ardelius maneuvers the quick story through the wide-eyed, simultaneously painful, joyous, and consuming aspects of first love: marveling at what life was like before meeting someone; trying to imagine the emptiness you’d feel without that person; wondering if there are limits to what you can say or do; arriving at the scary point where you define yourself entirely against the other; and then the slow, descending fog of doubt. Passages are intentionally oblique at times, but the emotional resonance is sweeping. Teens struggling through their own issues of identity and codependency in relationships will find much reflection in these surprisingly sophisticated yet accessible passages that show that love is often one of life’s hardest trials. Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman
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Top Customer Reviews
this was a gift for my daughter and it is one of her favorites
Morris wants so badly for their relationship to work, but many things are working against them. Morris is embarrassed by his parents and does not want Betty to meet them. His father suffers from bi-polar disorder, while his mother talks incessantly about dreams and poetry. Morris begins to wonder if crazy people are drawn to one another, and what that might mean for his relationship with Betty.
Can they outlast the craziness that has brought them together, or will their relationship fail like so many others before it?
I NEED YOU MORE THAN I LOVE YOU AND I LOVE YOU TO BITS is Gunnar Ardelius' debut novel. The story is told through short prose passages. Many of these passages are snippets of conversation shared between Betty and Morris. Sometimes it is difficult to decipher which character is speaking; however, that may have been Ardelius' intention, to make the dialogue as ambiguous as possible. The story is interesting, and will appeal to teenagers who have experienced first love.
As they say, your first love is the one you never forget.
Reviewed by: LadyJay