Thursday, 16 August 2012
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer.E. Smith
With myself dreaming of flying alone to exotic destinations when I left college next year, I think this was the right time to read Hadley and Oliver's story.
Synopsis: After a series of unfortunate events and delays, Hadley arrives at her gate to her plane to London Heathrow, where she is bridesmaid for her father's re-marriage to a woman Hadley has never met. Four minutes late watching the aeroplane rolling back towards the runway. In what seems like fate, Hadley gets a seat on the next flight in the same row as Oliver, an original Londoner going home. Soon they start talking in the airport, on the plane...both revealing hidden secrets. Set over a 24 hour-period, Hadley and Oliver discover and explore the probability of love at first sight.
Review: While some would describe this book as cute, I draw the line at sweet, I would define this as nice. Just lovely and nice. With sheep and rainbows (no sarcasm intended). This book is the perfect novel to indulge in, with chocolate on a night-in. The perfect novel just to sit back and relax while you enjoy and follow Hadley and Oliver's mad 24 hours.
So, I have to admit, I quite liked this book. The speed of the writing and pace. The real yet original characters. But most of all the romance.
I started this book a little apprehensive. I thought this book would be filled with cheesy lines, insta-love that you know would never happen in the real world and two characters that I would totally not care about at the end. Also, the title 'Statistical Probability', the science connotations from that compared with the fact its a love story - two totally contrasting things...I wasn't expecting magic to happen. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
The plot is not driven by mystery and intrigue to know of their lives, although there is a little bit of that which was minor. No, the plot is driven by this 'will they? won't they?' feeling that led me, at one point (and readers of the book will know which bit), to wonder why the book had 'love at first sight' in the title. I just wanted to get to the end to find out how/will they get together, what's Hadley's reaction at the wedding to her father's new wife etc.
While the characters, like I said, were believable yet had this hint of originality to them and I can honesty say I was so emotionally caught up whether they would be a couple by the end of the book, while that all happened, I have to admit that I didn't believe in Oliver's English-ness. This is written by an American author and I have to admit, she admits that in the early drafts she had Oliver said 'yard' instead of 'garden'.
I'm English. I was born this and lived in London my whole life. I do not speak 'lyke dis init' - I know I have a posh accent. Which made me perhaps the greatest critic of Oliver's 'English-ness'. He wasn't English to me. Although there was no point where he said 'yard', 'sidewalk' or 'garbage' (it's rubbish!), his mannerisms and the way he acted seemed too...not English. We English folk would never strike up a conversation with someone we didn't know on public transport (ah, the delights of the Tube) so I found it a little weird how Hadley and Oliver first meet - by him striking up a chat.
On another note, the geography of London was also a little wrong. Paddington is NOT West London, it's a stones-throw from Hyde Park, which is definitely Central London. The descriptions of Paddington seemed like a small town in the suburbs, not somewhere with one of the busiest trains stations. That part seemed unbelievable to me however, I have a feeling I'm nit-picking.
The characters were refreshing to have and acted as real teenagers should. The only problem with this book for me was the lack of Oliver's 'Englishness', the geography described of London and the unrealistic ways of meeting each other. Hadley re-finds Oliver at one point and it just didn't quite convince me. I don't think someone would either do that or be so lucky to find the person they were looking for.
Despite the unlikeness of the some of the events, this is a heart-warming tale where little things like that don't seem to matter. If no-one aww's at any point while reading this, they have no feelings. Oliver and Hadley create a lovely partnership with Hadley being the sensible, strong protagonist who is just a little unlucky to start off with and learns the error of her ways, like every teenager. (finally!). Oliver is ever the gentleman, even to old ladies. We see two sides to his personality which I liked and made him seem more realistic. These two stick out for being real. Not for being fake like some YA books. These two learn things that I think we all can learn - not about love at first sight, but stereotypes (step-mother is prime example) and liking people for who they are. And not all first impressions are bad.
This novel brought back the romance of travelling for me, something we have all long forgotten (remember Panam!) For romantics and dreamers alike, this is a love story that will stay with me merely for showing me that perhaps love at first sight is possible. You just have to keep your eyes open looking for it.
For such a short read, it's totally worth it.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5
Author's Website: http://www.jenniferesmith.com/
- Apparently this may be made into a movie? Can totally see this! - have a look here