I should have written this a while back because I listened to this on Audible months ago. I am usually hesitant to read things that people recommend to me because what do you say when you don’t agree with their assessment of how great it is? Luckily, I didn’t have this problem.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown is the first of the Brown sisters trilogy by British romcom writer Talia Hibbert. I love reading something that teaches me something new. Everyone is dealing with something and everything is not a visible struggle. So with so many recommendations coming in for this one… I immediately went and downloaded them.
The story opens with Chloe almost being run over by a car outside of a coffee shop. Her near death incident has her wanting to turn around her life. (Get a Life if you will.) It is revealed that Chloe suffers from Fribromyalgia. So I actually had to google what this is. For those that don’t know…. (And yes… I had heard of it… but wasn’t sure of the specifics.) Fribromyalgia is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that causes pain and tenderness throughout the body, as well as fatigue and trouble sleeping. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but doctors and other health care providers can help manage and treat the symptoms. Because of the associated pain, fatigue, insomnia and mood issues, she’s lost friends, even a fiancé. These people got tired of her not being able to go out. I was particularly annoyed that her fiancé accused her of faking so he couldn’t have sex with her. One of the things that comes to mind when I think about this book is the struggles Chloe had with being diagnosed. It is long since been heard that woman aren’t taken seriously in medicine… particularly black women. It took years for her medical concerns to be taken seriously and in that time the landscape of her life changed extensively. Her friends and boyfriend left her. Personally, I think she was better off. She does, however, have family including her two sisters.
Chloe, like me, is into lists. Helps you feel like your life is really in order. Chloe decides to move out of her family home… (More like Castle. I love it.) She wants to be forced into action by being on her own. I know that feeling. She picks an apartment and decides to take control of her life. She makes a bit of a bucket list. It is a bit of a short list due to her not knowing what kind of pain days she is going to have beforehand. The list in questions:
- Move out.
- Enjoy a drunken night out.
- Ride a motorbike.
- Go camping.
- Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
- Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
- Do something bad.
The issue… her new building’s superintendent Redford “Red” Morgan. He can’t stand her. Red struggles with class anxiety after his experience in London and therefore views Chloe as stuck-up and snobby. Red is also redefining his life. He’s recently relocated from London, he’s abandoned his friends and acquaintances and stepped away from a promising career as an artist to flush toilets and change lightbulbs, which he does in exchange for his lodging. Chloe also feels wary around Red because she often watches him painting in his living room at night, behavior she knows is wrong but excuses as carrying out one of the items on her list: “Do something bad.” (I always wonder why people leave their blinds or shades open… especially at night.)
My favorite thing about this book has to be when he helps her out of a tree. Something about “rescuing” a cat from a tree always seems like a bad idea. (Particularly, because cats are more limber and careful than people give them credit for.) Of course…. Chloe climbs up… and then can’t get back down. She really didn’t think it through. Red happens along and helps her down. They strike the most unlikely friendship. Chloe is a website designer, and she offers to build Red’s art website in exchange for Red giving her a ride on his motorcycle. It is another one of the items on her Get a Life list. Red agrees to this deal and finds himself growing increasingly attracted towards Chloe, who likewise warms up to Red.
When Chloe asks him to help with other items on the list… he agrees… but wants to know more about her need for the list. Over time Red learns about Chloe’s condition… and she learns that he knows a bit about helping people with issues like hers. It is an interesting journey. You will not regret. Remember that communication is key.
I found myself blowing through the book, just trying to get to the conclusion as quickly as possible. I thought the characters were well fleshed out and were dealing with real life issues. There was a great balance of comedy and seriousness which I think takes talent to do. Chloe and Red are cute together. I was pulling for them from the very beginning… and I can not think of a better meetcute.
I loved the performance of the narrator and I give the story 5 out of 5 stars. It was a fun read with great banter. I was pulling for the happiness of both characters early on. And I enjoyed the dynamic of seeing a tight knit black family. Talia knows how to educate the masses on a subject. And I will always give her props for that. If you have read the series… let me know what you think in the comments.