Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler is a charming book with two interwoven storylines. A young woman who comes home to watch her father die and an old man living on the streets. But as each person deals with their own demons, their paths cross and connect until finally, they collide.
Each chapter starts with a list of ten things; ten things I’d say to my father, ten foods that stress me out, ten jobs I’ve held done for more than a month. These indicate who will carry the reader through the next chapter and also provide great insight into their lives and personalities. Through these lists, we come to know what drives each of the main characters.
The young woman travels to avoid her past. She doesn’t feel at home when she is home, and the man she loves can’t give her what she needs. So, she follows her mother’s flighty example by drifting through the world.
The homeless man walks the streets of a city, collecting colours to leave messages. To him, each colour represents a letter. By collecting colours, in the form of hair clips, plastic bags, the remnants of a balloon, he can leave messages for the one he has been searching for.
Filled with characters which stepped out of the pages and into my living room, Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love explores what it means to love and be loved by a father, sister, lover, daughter, friend and cherished lost one. The book encompasses some of the most dramatic parts of life and with a family that is far from perfect and which has long since been incomplete.
The book was sweet. Kind. Heart warming. Possibly not everyone’s taste and not for all moods. But then again, family could be described in the same way.