Tuesday 8 January 2013

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love is Sarah Butler's debut novel and will be published by Picador at the end of January 2013.

The book is beautifully presented, the front cover design is gorgeous and really catches the eye, I think that it alone will draw a lot potential readers to investigate the book.

This is a story about trying to belong, about fathers and daughters, about loss and memories, about hope and  about coming home.  

The story has two narrators; Alice who has just returned to London after travelling abroad, she's come back to the house that never really felt like a home, back to find her Father at the end of his life and back to face the criticism and pity of her two older sisters.

Daniel is the other narrator, his story is told from the streets of London, from homeless shelters, doorways and parks.  Daniel has desperately been looking for someone for many years, catching glimpses of her hair, searching the abandoned newspapers in the hope that he may see her name printed there.  
During the first half of the book, these two stories appear to be completely separate, it is not until the reader is well into the story that it becomes clear that their lives do actually overlap.

It is difficult to believe that this is Sarah Butler's first novel as she has cleverly meshed the two stories together, and as we follow their thoughts and their actions, the character's similarities increase, despite the differences in their lives.  
Alice and Daniel see so much when they observe London and it's population.  The small items discarded by a hurrying and busy public become treasures to Daniel, with meaning and significance.  It is this detailed description of things that at first-glance could be mundane and everyday that make this novel even more beautiful.

As the two stories weave together and Alice and Daniel discover each other, the reader is urging them both to be honest, to open up and to grasp a chance of happiness.  Although the ending may not be exactly what I wished for the characters, on reflection, it is the perfect ending for this story.

Sarah Butler
Oh, and the lists!  I love lists and Sarah Butler has included some lists within the story - both Alice and Daniel are able to tell a little more of their history, and their hopes for the future through these lists.  I thought this was a really clever way for the author to let the reader know more facts, without bogging the story down with too much detail.

Once again, Picador have picked a winner, this is a highly original, exciting and at times, a quite heart-wrenching story.

This is new writing at it's finest - moving and emotional, a little bit quirky and very very special.

Sarah Butler has a website here and you can follow her on Twitter here


  1. I'm totally sold on this one - you've hooked me with your wonderful review. I'd love to enter the giveaway please Anne.

  2. Really like the sound of this, big fan of lists on boks ss well like High Fidelity.

  3. Lists, I cannot live without lists.
    Great review, Anne.


  4. Sounds good Anne, definitely on the wishlist, Karen