Monday, March 17, 2014

The Hypnotist's Love Story

The Hypnotist's Love Story
by Liane Moriarty

I have a very hard time going into a book store and not making a purchase.  This wouldn't be such a bad affliction if I didn't have a daughter who works in a book store.  Because she works there, I can't just not go there.  You see?

One day when I was running errands with my daughter she needed to stop by work.  Lo & behold, I had to make a purchase so I scanned the shelves to satisfy my need.  I happened upon this book by Liane Moriarty.  I had previously read and loved What Alice Forgot which LM had written so I thought why not?

Liane Moriarty has now joined my list of favorite or "go-to" authors.  Welcome Liane!

I was enjoying this book very much when I went to Goodreads to update my progress.  There I made the mistake of looking at reader reviews.  While many if not most of them were very good, a few gave this book low marks.  What I recall about those marks is people not liking the characters or not finding a climatic event which they felt the book was leading to.

I disagree with both those opinions.

While the book is a love story in which a female stalker quite prominently and sometimes scarily inserts herself, it is ultimately a book about relationships.  It's not a mystery or thriller so don't be looking for someone to be pushed off a cliff, drowned or beaten to death.  As the story is told in two voices, it's easy to see how different one might feel on the inside compared to how she may be viewed from the outside. I found the characters to be very real and dimensional.

The hypnotist is Ellen, a hypnotherapist. She meets and falls in love with Patrick, a widower with a young son.  Patrick dated and lived with Saskia for three years after his wife's death.  Saskia has been stalking Patrick since he broke it off with her three years prior.  An unusual love triangle to say the least. Ellen is more intrigued than frightened by Saskia's obsession with her fiance. She feels her relationship with Patrick is more threatened by his dead wife than his stalker.  Through her voice we see her insecurities and frustrations. Saskia thinks she might actually like Ellen if they had met in other circumstances. Her relationship with Patrick included mothering his son in his earliest years. Through her voice we try to understand her obsession with the man and his son after she is stripped of the roles of partner and mother. 

I think Liane Moriarty did a fine job of exploring relationships fraught with more obstacles than most.  While at one point I thought Ellen and Patrick were definitely on the rocks, she writes a monologue for Patrick that made me want to cheer. 

I give The Hypnotist's Love Story five shots.

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