LOVE IS THE CROOKED THING by Barbara Wersba

LOVE IS THE CROOKED THING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In an unusual sequel to the equally unusual Fat: A Love Story (p. 1000; C-168), Rita's beloved Arnold, agreeing with her parents that he is too old and unlikely to support her, moves to Zurich without leaving his address, although he sends frequent postcards. Rita and Arnold's love is real; the book contrasts it with false ideas and fantasies of love, and addresses problems that even real love may not be able to resolve. Bereft, Rita gains weight and, to earn money to follow Arnold, gets a job writing steamy romances; but she's too honest to follow the guidelines. Jerry, who is turned on by fat girls, writes one for her, but then is turned off by Rita's loveless offer of herself in exchange. Meanwhile, Doris Morris, Rita's boss, who has churned out potboilers since her own love life failed, responds to the sincerity of Rita's need; she and Corry, Rita's feminist friend, make it possible for Rita to go to Zurich, where she has an idyll with Arnold but realizes that he is a confirmed bachelor who chose her for her inaccessibility: though he treasures Rita, he evades responsibility. Stricken but at last seeing the situation clearly, Rita comes home ready to take charge of her life, and perhaps write an honest romance based on her experience. Ironically, Rita's journey is a wish-fulfilling fantasy that readers are likely to share, yet it results in a sober understanding of what real love is like. A fine performance by a gifted writer.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1987
Page count: 167pp
Publisher: Harper & Row