The Careful Undressing of Love – Corey Ann Haydu

Corey Ann Haydu displays speculative fiction at its best. This is a world so similar to our own, with the needle pushed just a bit farther than we’re comfortable with. This is 9/11 with a different response. This is Remembrance Day on steroids.

Synopsis

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.

Review

Corey Ann Haydu displays speculative fiction at its best. This is a world so similar to our own, with the needle pushed just a bit farther than we’re comfortable with. This is 9/11 with a different response. This is Remembrance Day on steroids.

Is Devonnaire Street a cult? Is Angelika crazy? Probably. But when you’re ostracized by the rest of the world, and you’re suffering a tragedy, who else do you turn to? You go to the people who accept you and the people who understand what you’ve been through. I understand Delilah, and I understand Isla. That’s what makes their behaviour all the more tragic.

I love Lorna and Cruz. I just want them to be happy. Is destiny against them? Is there any satisfying end to this? Lorna’s realization on the roof was groundbreaking, but didn’t make a ripple in the tapestry of their lives. How could something so important make no difference?

I guess the problem is that other people can always rationalize away something like love. Who are you to say what true love is? A big theme of this book is grappling with the idea of love, and how you know you’re experiencing it. And it’s also about the different kinds of love out there. Lorna’s parents’ story, for example, was also complicated and convoluted and so important. You’d think it’s proof that the curse is wrong, but then tragedy mysteriously strikes again.

This story was so complex. Lorna and Cruz. Delilah and Jack. Charlotte and her secrets. Isla and her struggle to fit in and act out at the same time. Solid, predictable Owen. The truth about Richard. The Bombings, the Affected, the Moments of Silence. The hate, oh, the endless hate. The lemons and the peonies… my goodness, this book had so much to it and felt so important.

It’s so easy to blame a tragedy on someone else. It’s so easy to believe something that everyone around you believes. California was an escape mechanism, but escaping gives power to the street. It means you believe that you really do have the power to hurt those around you. This review is definitely vague and convoluted, but it’s a complex and rich story. The Careful Undressing of Love is definitely worth a read.

Related Reading

  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  • We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
  • Never Stop Falling – Ashley Drew
  • Making Pretty – Corey Ann Haydu

Rating: 5/5

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