Sunday, December 20, 2015

Love in Lowercase

Title:  Love in Lowercase
Author: Francesc Miralles (author). Julie Wark (translator).
Publication Information:  Penguin Books. 2016. 240 pages.
ISBN:  0143128213 / 978-0143128212

Book Source:  I received this book through the Penguin First to Read program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "In no time at all the year was going to end and the new one was about to begin."

Favorite Quote:  "For the first time I realized that the most important indicator of our value in this world is the good we do unto others."

The publicity for this book does it a disservice. The marketing materials describe this book as "a romantic comedy for language lovers and fans of The Rosie Project." Unfortunately, the book does not deliver that.

First of all, I don't think romance is at the heart of this book. The book, in fact, defines itself. "Love in lowercase? ... It's when some small act of kindness sets off a chain of events that comes around again in the form of multiplied love. Then, even if you want to return to where you started, it's too late, because this love in lowercase has wiped away all traces of the path back to where you were before." This book seems to be a little bit about romance but much more about the ripple effect of an action - a chance occurrence - that changes many lives. It seems to be about one man being drawn out of his loneliness and seclusion in spite of himself. Romance may indeed be part of that story, but it is not the whole story. I don't even think it is the main story.

Unfortunately, what romance there is in the story does not go the way I wished it would. Without a spoiler, I will say that I really wish the romance story ended differently. I find myself cheering for a particular couple, but that is not where the book ends up. The romance that the book follows, for me, lacks a sense of reality.

Second, this book does not strike the light-hearted tone of The Rose Project. Most, if not all, the characters seem alone not by choice but by circumstance. A hint of sadness runs through all their lives until life brings them together in friendship. The happiest character in the book seems to be the cat! This is not a book about happy people becoming happier together, but rather the need for companionship to shed loneliness.

Third, the comparison of Samuel to Don Tillman in The Rosie Project does not work. They are both bachelors and quirky, but that is where the similarity ends. Samuel "stopped socializing out of fear of being let down again. As an adolescent I got fed up with doing what other people wanted, only to be left high and dry when I needed them." Don Tillman's social struggles arise from who he is as a person.

Don Tillman is a charming character, while Samuel is far less likable. At times, he is rather uncharitable towards many of the other characters in the book - his sister, his brother-in-law, and his students. Throughout The Rosie Project, I find myself cheering for the main character. In this book, not so much.

I do wonder if this book lost something in the translation. This book is originally written in 2006 in Spanish. I have trouble following some aspects of the story, and the entire book does not appear to be what it is billed as. I would love to find someone who has read the original to see if the feel of the novel is different in its original language. Is my reaction to the book because of the translation or is it because of a marketing strategy that sets up unrealistic expectations?

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree w/your review. This book was a total disappointment particularly because I was anticipating a Rosie Project type book based on the jacket blurbs. Read the new first novel by Jeff Bartsch, Two Across. You'll LOVE it!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and for the book recommendation. It sounds like a fun read, and I am adding it to my "to read" pile. Thanks and happy reading.