Review: Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

As a movie buff and big fan of foppish romantic men falling in love with realistic, ambitious women I was super eager to read this. So I grabbed it at a bargain 99p this week.

Love, Unscripted is a fresh take on boy-meets-girl where Nick and Ellie, who met on the eve of the Presidential election in 2008, try to figure out where their relationship is headed and if it’s really over.

Told from Nick’s perspective, it’s easy to see where the Nick Hornby comparisons come in. But actually, I think it’s a lot warmer than Hornby’s books. The male narrator is self aware, and even though he’s flawed (as I hope all narrators are!) he doesn’t fall into the typical character voice. Nick is a sensitive soul looking for the real thing, a big, perfect sort of love.

He finds it in Ellie, but when they break up, he’s left trying to figure out what went wrong and whether it’s fixable.

This book really reminded me of the movie 100 Days of Summer – there’s a bittersweet element to it, with an introverted and romantic lead and his beautiful, smart, magical girlfriend. And yet, even through the almost naive gaze of the narrator, Ellie remains a real character, completely whole and normal. She was the sort of person I’d want to be friends with.

The book switches both in timeline and style, which was an interesting choice. I really enjoyed it (and did briefly think from an author perspective how hard it is to get the go-ahead on a structure like that!) as it switched between 2008 when the couple met, years later when they break up (both from Nick’s perspective) and then into a third person retelling of the times in between as Nick practices his screen writing.

Nothing much happens, I suppose, but those are actually my favourite kind of books! There’s warmth and friendship and growth and family moments. It’s a love story and a story of growth and it’s not overly saccharine or easily tied up – it’s about how life and love are complicated, and imperfect.

So, in summary, I loved it, and it’s 99p and you should absolutely read it! Excited to read more from this debut author!

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