Monday, October 29, 2012

Love Slave by Jennifer Spielgel

Love Slave
Summary and cover from Good Reads

"I can write the pants off any man," declares Sybil Weatherfield, the plucky hero of Jennifer Spiegel’s Love Slave. A literary novel set in 1995 New York, Love Slave follows Weatherfield and her strange friends as they frustrate chick-lit expectations (though they’re unaware that they’re doing so) in this uproarious, genre-breaking spree. By day Sybil is an office temp, and by night she’s a columnist for New York Shock, a chatty rag in which she writes a column called "Abscess" — a wound that never heals. Her friends include a paper-pusher for a human rights organization, and the lead singer of a local rock band called Glass Half Empty. Full of cultural detail, mid-'90s observations, and early adulthood anxieties, Weatherfield’s story of finding love ultimately casts an ironic eye on what it means to be a love slave.

Summary from the Jennifer Spielgel website: 

It’s 1995. When she can, Sybil Weatherfield works as an office temp. But in her jobless hours she may be her generation’s Dorothy Parker, writing a confessional column for the alternative weekly, New York Shock. Her friends include a paper-pusher for a human rights organization and the lead singer of a local rock band called Glass Half Empty. Together, they try to find a path from their own wry inactivity to something real and lasting that can matter to them. Richly funny and wincingly specific, this cunning debut novel is a bittersweet and ironic look at what it means to be enthralled by an idea—by even the most ragged possibility of love.

Love Slave is the story of Sybil Weatherfield (love her name!) and she works as a temp and a columnist in New York City, which she can't seem to get out of. She appreciates the freaks too much for keeping her sane. Sybil has two faithful friends, Madeline, a human rights organization paper pusher, and Rob, a singer for a band called Glass Half Empty who still wears the wedding ring of his wife who died of cancer, along with her boyfriend, Jeff, who she describes as nice. The title comes from when Rob and Sybil first meet and he says she doesn't seem interested in being his love slave, yet that is exactly what she becomes by the end of the novel. She decides they both need to risk love, need to have something greater, even though they are both stuck in the City. 

Sybil and Rob go through stages: meeting, hanging out and being friends, finding out that Madeline is leaving and being left behind, getting rid of Jeff, falling in love, following the band and watching the band break up, a lump in Sybil, Rob taking off his wedding ring. It's the story of the places they eat at, the columns Sybil writes, the music/band they listen to, and Sybil's inconsistent temp jobs. It's an interesting and hilarious story. 

Yet it has shortcomings. It's the story of a girl and a boy stuck in a City deciding to love each other, despite not knowing their purpose. That's the main issue I had with Sybil, is that she lacks purpose and is just an aimless wanderer on the Earth. She's also not someone who is really contributing to anyone's life or the lives of her friends, to which she acknowledges at the end of the novel. That Madeline and Rob and even Jeff have given her so much and she has given nothing back. Sybil is just there; she exists with no purpose and no desire for one and this is the major flaw of the novel. Yet, how many people are there just like Sybil out in the world? 

Ultimately, Love Slave looks at what it means to find love in one woman's purposeless world. To show that even those who live without knowing their purpose--can at least, hopefully maybe, one day find and have love. Because the hope of love is enough to keep a human alive. Love is what makes life worth living.

I received Love Slave via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are my own and are not affected by this. 

Interesting things about Love Slave...

Booksarethenewblack writes about wearing Love Slave:

Largeheartedboy writes about the official playlist of Love Slave:

ChamberFour wrote an excellent review of Love Slave:

That's all I got for yall. Have a great morning & rest of the day!