My review of...
Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject
William Morrow, 2014
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Reading this book felt a bit like sipping a cappuccino with a heart design in the milk-foam: by the time you get to the bottom, you’ll have consumed some coffee, but the drinking experience mostly consists of progressing through layers of froth. Depending on your tastes, this might be exactly what you enjoy. I was left a bit unsatisfied, myself.
Jones explores some of the common relationship issues people face in the 21st century by weaving together a couple dozen different love stories. Lest we doubt his qualifications to comment on love this way, he repeatedly reminds us that he’s read 50,000 essay submissions to the Modern Love column in his time as its editor. Fair enough—he certainly knows the trends.
But what he offers in breadth he somewhat lacks in depth. None of the summarized anecdotes can match the power and poignancy that make the Modern Love column so successful. At various points I was tempted to put down the book and spend my time immersed in the column’s archives instead, where these stories are told by their actual participants in a variety of authentic voices.
Having said that, Jones does have a charming voice. The book is written with wit and style. All around, this was a pleasant weekend read, one you could easily consume curled up in a café with that frothy cappuccino.