Scoop Review of Books

Romance Lives

Book Review
How We Met – the ways great love begins…
By Michele A’Court (Harper Collins, $35)
Reviewed by Justine McLeary

how_we_met_coverAn old flatmate of mine used to scoff at me whenever I watched romantic movies, telling me they were cheesy. She’d have thought this book was too. But I loved it as much as I do those movies.

Chances are you’ll be familiar with Michele A’Court’s name. She’s been around on the Kiwi stand-up comedy scene for a long time. This is her second book (her first, Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter, was published in 2015). In How We Met, Michele explores her theory that, if you ask a couple to tell the story of how they met, you’ll see them fall in love with each other all over again. Telling their story, Michele theorises, gives couples a sense of belonging to each other and helps strengthen their bond. This theory is borne out by the fact all the featured couples are still together, and backed up by relationship therapist Sara Chatwin, who agrees the stories help couples reignite falling-in-love feelings that may have been covered up by life experiences. The stories let the good stuff shine through again, she says.

While the stories are about the featured couples, Michele’s wit and voice really shines through. Her writing style is entertaining and highly readable. My favourite tale is that of Roger and Briony, who finally got together after years of friendship and romantic near-misses: there’s nothing like a story of people who overcome the odds for love. Michele brings Roger and Briony – and her other couples – vividly to life within her pages. I felt like I knew them, and I missed them after I finished the book.

How We Met is a rare book in that it evokes laughter and tears in its readers. Some of its stories do both at the same time. Michele has included her parents’ story – they met in 1951 and married in 1955 – and this was one such tale.

There’s something uplifting about reading other people’s love stories, isn’t there? That’s what makes How We Met easy to read and hard to put down. It’s sweet. There’s no other word for it, really.