An Exploration of Love and Friendship in The Careful Undressing of Love

tcuolThe Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (31st Jan 2017)
Format/Source: ARC (sent by Penguin Random House International)

Blurb:
Everyone who really knows Brooklyn knows Devonairre Street girls are different. They’re the ones you shouldn’t fall in love with. The ones with the curse. The ones who can get you killed.

Lorna Ryder is a Devonairre Street girl, and for years, paying lip service to the curse has been the small price of living in a neighborhood full of memories of her father, one of the thousands killed five years earlier in the 2001 Times Square Bombing. Then her best friend’s boyfriend is killed, and suddenly a city paralyzed by dread of another terrorist attack is obsessed with Devonairre Street and the price of falling in love.

Set in an America where recent history has followed a different path.

Rating: 3.5/5


I was pleasantly surprised when I received an ARC of The Careful Undressing of Love in the mail last month before Christmas. I knew the premise of the book would really be a treat because what’s not to love when the book focuses on the different facets of love, but I had to put reading aside and “revise” for my final exams. Yeah, right.

I’m not afraid of the Curse. But I am maybe a little afraid of love and the way it changes everything.

Before going into Corey Ann Haydu’s latest offering, I had little clue of what to expect since this is the first book by Haydu that I read and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the emotional depth in the book.

According to Angelika, you can only really love one person at a time. “Real, true love is singular in focus,” she says. “Real, true love is so big there’s not room for anything else.” I asked Dad if this was true and he handed me a book of Neruda and told me even poets don’t have the answers, let alone Angelika.

In short, The Careful Undressing of Love is a book about love. It follows the story of a group of girls who live on the shortest street in Brooklyn in Haydu’s reimagined city of New York, where there was a bombing, instead of the 9/11 tragedy, that killed the protagonist’s father. These girls and their mothers and the other women who live on Devornairre Street are believed to be Cursed. That anyone guy they love will die.

When Dad died, Mom said to be sure to let myself have good moments. Even when everything hurts, even when other cities are exploding and people we love are disappearing, there’s still space for sweet things.

Here goes, I will be frank. I couldn’t follow half of what the book was going on about. I admit, there were some parts of the book that seemed a little bit too abstract for me. However, that aside, the book is sprinkled with such beautiful, haunting lines and proses on love and loss and friendship. I lived for the writing because it fits so well with the general mood of the book that sits on the line between magical realism and contemporary.

I think about the moon–that it is always there but waxing and waning. That it is both predictable and shifting. I think love is something like that.

The diverse cast of characters are quite an interesting bunch and one of the characters has a lesbian relationship in the book. The thing that really kept me engaged in the story was their relationships with each other and the whole idea that the boy they love will die was intriguing yet haunting throughout the entire book, especially after the death of Delilah’s beloved, Jack. (Not a spoiler. It’s mentioned in the blurb)

My dad liked to talk about love–how big was it and how small. How strong and how delicate. How I should be on the lookout for it. How I shouldn’t listen to anyone else’s opinions about it but his and e. e. cumming’s and Shakespeare’s.

The Careful Undressing of Love is a story about Lorna’s discovery of what love truly is and it is indeed an undressing of love as she questions the beliefs that were ingrained in her and her friends as well as the community she lives in. Lorna’s unshakeable belief in what her deceased father shared with her about love is one of the things that really stood out in the book and the exploration of love is well-written and eloquent.

All the quotes were taken from the ARC and are subject to change.

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4 thoughts on “An Exploration of Love and Friendship in The Careful Undressing of Love

  1. That’s a nice review. I’ve heard about this book lately, it sounds interesting, although I do know what you mean about a book being hard to follow when it’s a little poetic like that. Truly lovely cover though, huh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey! It’s truly a beautiful cover. So Bookstagram worthy, in my opinion! I loved the proses on love and how the MC discovers what love is. You should totally check it out.

      Like

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