Relationship advisor Zoë Foster Blake takes us on an enthusiastic journey through matters of the heart and offers a fresh perspective in her new reference guide: Love! The book offers hints, solutions and ideas on how to deal with many of the issues us women experience when dating, whilst also giving some insight into why we keep finding ourselves in the same bad situations time and time again. Although a book primarily aimed at women, I believe men could gain some needed insight from Foster Blake’s writings as well.
Although I’ve been happily married for ten years now, I read Love! with one eye on my own past trying to decide if I would have appreciated Foster Blake’s advice and whether, when I was dating the ‘wrong guys’ I would’ve learnt anything from the book. As it turns out, I probably would’ve.
When I was first dating, the internet was fairly new and relationship advice wasn’t always readily available or spoken about. Now, there are a multitude of self-help books out there. Love! however, reaches above and beyond what I expected. I loved a lot of the elements that went into it: the jokes and puns, the swear words, the Q&A, and the book’s many lessons. Most importantly though I appreciated the clear and concise Foster Blake has presented her work. It’s actually FUN! (and brutal, but we all need to hear the hard truths from time to time.) Obviously, we should take matters of the heart seriously, but the book really uses humour effectively. Foster Blake, employed a quick, unexpected, humour throughout, and softens a few of those hard truths with a well-placed joke or aside.
Love! is fantastically presented throughout, with a nice thick cover, bold colours, and with four tabbed sections, and a ‘Why I Wrote This Book’ introduction, which lets the reader in on Foster Blake’s time as Cosmopolitan’s relationship advice columnist. A period of her life, which inspired her to write new essays that could’ve helped her when she was growing up and experiencing her own relationship woes.
Each of the book’s four sections starts with Q&A and builds from there. The first section, ‘Self’, is unsurprisingly all about self-esteem and self-love, acknowledging that you are irreplaceable, and that you are worthy of love.Then comes ‘Dating’. Here Foster Blake tackles the various conundrums of the opposite sex as friends, the romance re-runs, how to make a one-night stand work and more. ‘Hurting’ is the next section. Here we are asked to learn that break ups are a gift and how we might be able to best end a relationship – when is the best time, from cheating, to wanting a partner back and more. It’s full of great insights into how to deal with ex’s and why closure is so important. Lastly, we have the ‘commitment’ section, which focuses on whether you’re ready to settle down, the tell-tale signs of settling down and all that commitment-y type of advice we all need to hear, including about long-distance relationships.
Love! is packed full of do’s and do nots, and if this book doesn’t help you, well then, you’re just not following it properly. Whether you are happily single, disheartened, permanently stuck in the friend zone, or primed for commitment, then this is the one for you. Full of laugh out loud moments and great advice, Love! is fresh, accessible and helpful.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Love! is available now through Penguin Australia.