The only thing I liked about this book is its potential to show vulnerability in different shades.
I do not think it is fair to describe Arthur Less as a failed novelist, he was rather a struggling one. The story is about a struggling novelist in his 50s. He has been living with his partner, Freddy for 9 years. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail – Freddy is now marrying someone else. Less wants to avoid the marriage – attending it would be too awkward. Avoiding it may make him look like a loser. To keep himself busy and out of the city during the wedding, Less accepts all the Literary invitations that were kept pending all this while and decides to travel globally.
‘Less’ did he know that this trip would be a roller coaster ride, and he will experience a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of insecurity, and a lot of reality. (Happiness is not bullshit)
The protagonist, Arthur Less is portrayed very well. He is smart, talented, adorable, and filled with emotions, fears, and insecurities. He surely isn’t living a fairy tale life where everything is white, perfect, and shiny but is racing against his own self in reality. He is insecure, he is dealing with a mid-life crisis, and certainly emotional about all the romantic relationships and partners he has met to date.
All the other characters too (including the famous poet Robert) – are shown perfectly. Right from the description of how they look to the detailing of how they feel – their emotions, insecurities, fears, and thoughts, everything is served well and is palatable.
I liked the book but I somehow feel its more of a character-based book than a good storytelling one. The story lacks relatability and the ability to give its readership a major takeaway. The story gets a little confusing and you have to re-read it to grip the gist. Also, how many of us really have that kind of privilege and money to run away from problems and travel the world? Is it a good lesson? I am not quite sure.
Disclaimer: I picked up this book because it was labeled to be ‘funny’ – The book would make you smile in a few areas and pockets, but it definitely isn’t a funny book.
Though the book tried to focus on “Everything gets fine at the end”, but however the book had a lot of pockets filled with sulking, no good solutions, and letting go of things just randomly.
The only thing I liked about this book is its potential to show vulnerability in different shades. Every chapter will take you on a journey to Less’s past of incomplete and insecure memories which is pure flesh reality and not a fairy tale with dwarfs or glass slippers to make everything okay in a jiffy!
I wish there would be a little more to this book that would help readers not just understand problems that Less is facing, but could relate to it and take away something that inspires them to grow or do better. This certainly isn’t a bad book but lacks the direction needed and is def not a Pulitzer award kind of book. I think Less could have been a little ‘more’ than what it is now.