Looking for a Love Story tells the tale of Francesca, an overweight has-been novelist living in New York City. Her first book, Love, Max, about divorce and the break-up of a family told from the pet dogís point of view, was well-received and a ultimately a New York Times bestseller. Itís been years now, though, since she wrote that novel, and she hasnít been able to come close to writing a second. She is paralyzed by fear and loneliness, and to compensate, she eats chocolate because itís the only thing that seems to make her feel better.
While Francescaís stud of a husband, Jake, was understanding at the beginning, they have been drifting apart for years. When she makes a shocking discovery about him, she forges ahead on her own, applying for humiliating ghostwriting jobs in order to support herself. Through these applications, Francesca meets Chicky, a feisty, energetic octogenarian determined to tell the story of her parents, Joe and Ellie. Through their story, Francesca begins to comprehend her own and understand her place in the world.
Louise Shafferís previous novel, Serendipity, was a pleasant surprise, so deciding to read Looking for a Love Story was a no-brainer. There are two main plots to this novel: the story of Francesca and how she learns to live on her own terms, and the story of Joe and Ellie. Though both are interesting, Francesca is the easiest to identify with, particularly how she her parentsí divorce affects her. She doesnít hide the fact that Love, Max is based on her mother and fatherís strangely amicable divorce; in fact, itís her way of expressing her anger, since she was the only one who seemed to be bothered by it.
While not exactly gripping, Joe and Ellieís sweet story makes the reader wonder how it will affect Francesca and whether or not she will learn something from their trials. Though I would have preferred the entire story to be told from Francescaís point of view, it is easy to see why she was swept up by this intriguing and somewhat mysterious tale.
Looking for a Love Story is a sweet, simple novel about learning to live on your own terms and understanding what you want out of life. Francesca (along with her dog, Annie) is a great heroine with whom readers will sympathize and root for as she uncovers the story of Chickyís parents. Itís a great read for a breezy summerís day, with the book in one hand and a glass of iced tea in the other.