I was looking for an audiobook to listen to in the car when I came across Love May Fail by Matthew Quick. I really enjoyed reading his previous novel, Silver Linings Playbook (and watching the movie adaptation) so I checked it out without bothering to look at what this book was about. If you have kids in the car with you, then you do not want to listen to this book. Read it instead.
Love May Fail starts by introducing us to Portia Kane, who is currently sitting in her clothes closet, drunk, waiting for her husband and his lover to arrive. After a hilarious confrontation, Portia decides to leave and gets on a plane. While she is intoxicated. She stumbles to her seat and finds herself sitting next to a nun. Sister Maeve is kind and listens to Portia tell her tale of woe. Before they part, Sister Maeve gives her a note and her address, in case Portia would ever want to write to her in the future. And it is a good thing that Portia writes to her. It turns out that they are looking for the same thing.
The plane lands in Philadelphia, Portia’s hometown. We quickly realize why Portia would want to escape this place after the first encounter with her mother. Her mother is kind but clearly mentally unstable. After dragging her mother to a nearby diner, Portia runs into a former classmate and learns that a beloved high school English teacher was forced to retire after a brutal attack. This teacher was the only decent man that Portia Kane ever had in her life. Determined to find him and bring him back to the classroom, Portia begins her quest.
Some people believe that God has a master plan that brings people together. Other people call it destiny. Whatever you call it, in Love May Fail, you will see how one chance encounter can lead you to the person that you are looking for. Matthew Quick brings multiple characters together through chance encounters that lead Portia to her former teacher, Mr. Vernon. But just because you find the person that you are looking for, it does not mean that there is always a happy ending. Mr. Vernon is a broken man when Portia finds him. Will she be able to convince him that life is worth living?
Love May Fail is full of dark subject matter, but it is a very funny book. Portia Kane is a believable flawed middle aged woman that is trying to find the one person that she believes has goodness inside him. Along her journey, Portia encounters other characters that help her on her quest. And she may find that there are other people that are good along the way.