Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Survival Training for Lonely Hearts - Elana Bregin
Author: Elana Bregin
Source: Review Copy from Pan Macmillan South Africa
Kate is a burnt-out editor at the busy Centaur Press publishing house. Over forty and lonely, she is driven to searching for love on the Internet. There she encounters not a few daunting challenges - chief among them the realisation of impassable gulfs between the mindsets of the men who cross her inbox and her own personal non-negotiables.
When a small Nguni dog enters her life Kate is forced to acknowledge some painful home truths, and in order to find the intimacy she longs for she first has to let go of her own destructive patterns.
Part wry romance, part social commentary, Survival Training for Lonely Hearts tracks the personal and political complexities that characterise present-day South Africa, a wounded society caught between the collateral damage of the old and the emerging vibrancy of the new. Along the way, Kate loses her heart, finds her mojo and, as in all good quest journeys, discovers that the map is not the territory.
I was a bit skeptical when I read one of the reviews of this book that said you would skip work so that you could finish reading this book. I readily admit my skepticism, because if you are skeptical, I want you to rest assured... they weren't lying. I started this book on a Friday evening, and I finished it that very Friday night. I could not put it down. I would have finished sooner, but my sister kept coming to my room to chat, which was rather annoying as I just wanted to read this book!
From the very start you are drawn in, because this is a rather unusual book. And I do mean unusual in a good way. I can't say that I am well read in this genre, but I have not ever read a book like this. And the fact that it's a South African book makes it so much easier to relate to. More than that, I am sure we have all been in the same situation as Kate - lonely but not willing to settle for just anyone so you stay alone. What I really loved about this book, is that there are wise characters who tell Kate how silly she is in the aforementioned scenario. And really I think that this is a book that all of us in this situation needs to read so that we can learn and bend a little so that we don't end up alone for ever. Sometimes you just need a reminder that you have to take a chance to find what you are looking for, and this book is that reminder.
Kate's adventure with online dating will regale you, her insights and aha moments will surprise you, and this book will please you. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to read a stand-alone book for a change!
So if you're in a relationship and want to be reminded of the drama of a singleton, read this book. If you are single, lonely, yet afraid to be hurt again, or are not willing to negotiate on certain qualities, read this book - it may just be what you need to help you get your groove back!