Looking for a quick, easy, grounding book? Try Love in the Present Tense
On my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I went up to my mum's place with one single book in my hand ... one I was, in fact, only about a chapter away from finishing. Stupid move on my part, as I flew through the remaining pages in no time. Mum's got a pretty extensive library, but I already had about a billion of her books at my place, so I didn't want to steal any more, so when we went for a tiki tour out to the shops, I popped in to one of the stores and stumbled across this interesting-looking read: Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I always do (unless it's a book that's been recommended to me). This book's cover is completely the type of cover I am always drawn towards: clean, simple, little old looking, and intriguing. With a swift flip of the book, the synopsis grabbed my attention completely, and the book found its way into my shopping cart.
There are three main characters in this novel: Leonard, a five-year-old boy who has vision problems and asthmas, and is the sweetest kid ever — and very wise to boot. There's Pearl, Leonard's mother, who is still a teenager having had Leonard very young. She did something pretty terrible early on in the book (I won't tell you what), and she's spent the rest of her life, and Leonard's, trying to hide from it. And that's where the third character comes into it ...
When Pearl thinks her past is coming back to get her, she leaves Leonard with her neighbour, 25-year-old Mitch. Mitch runs his own business from home, and has pretty severe commitment issues, so when Pearl drops Leonard off and leaves ... well, you'll need to read the rest to find out what happens.
With so much of the book being based around very depressing, sad themes, it's a wonder that this book is able to bring any joy to the reader, but that's where Catherine Ryan Hyde's character of Leonard really shines. When all the adults are falling apart around him, Leonard is a breath of fresh air, bringing so much humour, wisdom, and love into the picture, that it's hard not to fall in love with him, even though he's a fictional character and you only really get 300-odd pages to get to know him.
If you're wanting to learn how to make the most out of some pretty rotten situations, I thoroughly recommend you give Love in the Present Tense a go.
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