Love Walked In
Marisa de los Santos
Fiction, Published 2006
Read Oct. 2007
From the Cover:
‘When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. But little does she know that her newfound love is only the harbinger of greater changes to come. Meanwhile, across town, Clare Hobbs -eleven years old and abandoned by her erratic mother- goes looking for her lost father. She crosses paths with Cornelia while meeting with him a the café, and the two form an improbable friendship that carries them through the unpredictable currents of love and life. Invoking classic movies to illuminate the mystery and wonder of love in all its permutations, Love Walked In is an uplifting debut that marks the entrance of an enchanting literary voice.’
Why did you choose this book?
I just love a good bargain book. I liked how the books flips back and forth from Clare’s and Cornelia’s point-of-views. And I like the idea that love comes when you least expect it, in forms you never imagined. The average reviews for this book are much higher than my own. In all, I enjoyed reading this book, but I hardly thought it “mark[ed] the entrance” to anything and it’ll probably go in my ‘sell back’ pile.
What did you think of the characters?
Clare’s parents really annoy me, especially her father Martin. While Clare’s mother starts to act erratically and irrationally (we later discover she is indeed bi-polar), Clare becomes scared and reaches out to the dad she sees twice a year for help. When he dismisses her questions and concerns, Clare tries to hide her mother’s sickness from everyone she knows. Finally her mother picks her up in the middle of school and then drops her off on the side of the road(!!), leaving her alone. Luckily nothing too frightening happens to Clare and she is soon moved to her father’s house and comes to meet Cornelia, her father’s new girlfriend.
It’s like Martin doesn’t care at all about Clare and doesn’t want to try and help her when she really needs him. His lame excuses about not knowing what to do for Clare and not being “father material” are really annoying because even if you don’t know exactly the right thing to do, the most important thing is to be there and he’s simply not Cornelia’s so-called Cary Grant or anyone who deserves to be cared for. It’s almost as if the character was too lame to continue on in the story and the author had to kill him off to improve his character.
The unlikely friendship between Clare and Cornelia is soon established and it is Cornelia, along with her friends and family, who give Clare the loving family she needs. It is Cornelia’s childhood friend, Teo, who is also her sister’s husband (so as not to complicate the story…) who becomes the saving grace not only in Clare and Cornelia’s lives, but also the novel’s.
What was your favorite scene?
I really liked the story Clare writes in school for her mother for Christmas, “Annika and the Bears.” It invokes Clare’s truest feelings toward her mother and puts it in writing. “Imagine the deepest sleep you’ve ever slept. Multiply its deepness by the number of stars in the sky and the number of fish in the sea. Then you will know the sleep of Annika and the bears.” Although her teacher seems upset by the story’s ending, probably concerned that Clare wanted to go to sleep and never wake up, I think Clare’s story symbolizes the hurt and tiredness she felt of masking her mother’s sickness, wanting someone to take her away while she slept and waited for her mother’s return.
“My life – my real life – started when a man walked into it, a handsome stranger in a perfectly cut suit and, yes, I know how that sounds.”
“A real life doesn’t mean getting what you want; the achievement, the privilege, too, is knowing what you love. But getting what you love? Having what you love love you back? Oh, my friend, it’s miracle: your one tiny life’s head-on collision with divinity.”