- Reading it took my breath away. The writing is simple but true.
- Lists start each chapter with the two main characters, Alice and Daniel, writing their own. “Ten Things I’m Frightened Of”, “Ten Things People Say to You When Your Father Dies”, and “Ten Things I’d Rather Forget” are a few of them. It’s a good writing technique and helps the reader find out a lot about a character’s interior thoughts in a small amount of words.
- Daniel has synesthesia so sees words and letters as colors. He describes someone’s name as “the color of sun-warmed sandstone”. The letter D is “a pale orange, like powdered sherbet”. Alice’s name is the color of “milky blue water”.
- Butler does a wonderful job of capturing the ache of wanting someone to love you.
- Daniel walks around London, collecting things like bottle tops, paper clips, a string of plastic pearls, and an empty photo frame to make found art he uses to express himself.
- This sounds weird, but I felt like my heart was also reading and reacting along with me.
- “When the whisky is finished, I screw the top back on and slam the bottle into the ground. It doesn’t break. I want something to break.” Those lines perfectly capture the frustration of feeling broken and wanting anything around you to be broken, too.
- Butler’s writing style put me so into the novel that when a character was distracted, I felt it, too. A character’s thoughts would interrupt lines of dialogue and leave me with their feelings of uncertainty in my head.
- Lines like these: “And I carried on doing what I’ve been doing for years. I have written your name more times than I can remember. Always, at the beginning, I write your name.”
- I didn’t want it to be over.
Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love is the debut novel of Sarah Butler. Alice is the youngest of three sisters and has never felt a true part of the family since her mother died when Alice was young. She’s off in Mongolia, escaping heartache, when she hears that her father is dying and returns in time to be there when he dies. Daniel is homeless and looking for the daughter he’s never met. We watch as these two slowly come together. As I mentioned before, Butler’s writing is simple but true and shows how the hope of love can root us when nothing else can. I really look forward to Butler’s future work.