This is Louise O’Neill’s third novel. I started reading Only Ever Yours but I didn’t fully get it and gave up halfway through. Asking for It was a good book but the ending made me extremely angry, because it was very realistic. So I didn’t know what to expect from this one.
Almost Love is the story of Sarah, an art teacher living and working in Dublin. She is currently in a relationship with Oisin who idolizes her but she is still obsessed with her ex, Matthew, who doesn’t. The book jumps between her present day life and back to her time with Matthew. Although she thinks she’s in a relationship with Matthew, it is clear to everyone around her (and to the reader) that he is just using her.
Although we should feel sorry for Sarah, we don’t. She is quite a horrible character, and a bit of a mess as a person. She has been through a lot, her mother died when Sarah was young and her father didn’t cope very well, but this in no way can excuse her behaviour. She’s very narcissistic and so full of self-importance. She blatantly treats everyone who cares for her like rubbish, constantly insulting her home town and the people living there, then can’t understand why people aren’t fawning over her or why she doesn’t know what’s going on in her friends’ lives.
This probably isn’t a great review because I honestly don’t know whether or not I liked this book! I will say it was engaging, and I read until the end, but I also felt a bit icky while reading it. But I think this is a common thread in Louise O’Neill, she writes books that can make the reader uncomfortable.
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.