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Book Review: Lovesick by Jake Coburn

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Lovesick is one of those compelling, can’t-put-it-down emotional rollercoasters that sneak up on me every now and again. This one was given to me by a friend, so I have to admit that I wasn’t even looking for something like this. I’m more the car chase, shoot ‘em up kind of guy. I don’t like to do a lot of deep thinking. After all, I have five kids and I do that enough, thank you very much.

But Jake Coburn hooked me with his lead Ted York. I’ve known guys like Ted, who had their lives mainlined into their athletic abilities. And some of them, like Ted, ended up flat on their butts when the athletic life they’d envisioned didn’t pan out for one reason or another. Those lives tend to be very short.

A lot of people don’t dream past that career, though. For Ted, the athletic scholarship was a means to an end, a way to get out of the blue-collar existence his parents had brought him up in and sacrificed to get him above. Even though his world had crashed around him, literally, and his knee was gone for good, and he was attending AA meetings to keep from drinking, he wants that dream he was reaching for through basketball.

I started rooting for the guy from page one.

I rooted for Erica too, but it took me longer to warm up to her because I really didn’t get her illness or how it could impact her life so hard. Alcoholism is much easier for me to understand because I’ve seen people who suffer through it, but bulimia is relatively unknown to me except through reading and television.

The love story that unfolds in the pages is well done, maybe a little sappy and shopworn at times, but it’s effective. I sat down to read a little of this book so I could discuss it with my friend, but ended up reading it practically cover to cover. Was I surprised by the twists and turns of the plot? Nope, can’t say that I was.

However, what lifts this book up is Coburn’s writing. Some people might find his use of email missives somewhat annoying, but I loved them. The characters of the father and the agent who negotiates Ted’s scholarship are starkly revealed and play important parts in the story. And they don’t really have to be on stage most of the time.

Lovesick is published under the Speak imprint and on "grade 10 and up" interest level. If you’re easily offended by harsh language, I’d like to caution you that the characters speak very frankly.

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