By Scott Spencer
Published by Harper Perennial
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
One of the most celebrated novels of its time, Endless Love remains perhaps the most powerful novel ever written about young love. Riveting, compulsively readable, and ferociously sexual, Endless Love tells the story of David Axelrod and his overwhelming love for Jade Butterfield.
David's and Jade's lives are consumed with each other; their rapport, their desire, their sexuality take them further than they understand. And when Jade's father suddenly banishes David from the house, he fantasizes the forgiveness his rescue of the family will bring and he sets a "perfectly safe" fire to their house. What unfolds is a nightmare, a dark world in which David's love is a crime and a disease, a world of anonymous phone calls, crazy letters, and new fears — and the inevitable and punishing pursuit of the one thing that remains most real to him: his endless love for Jade and her family.
I read this for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Club’s February pick, and wow…I had no idea what to expect with this one.
The characters were all so unlikeable and so strange. A family that does drugs together and not only permits their teenage daughter’s boyfriend to practically move in but buys them a huge bed to share? Strange. And the boyfriend’s parents don’t seem to do anything about this? Strange.
David was so self-centred. Everything was about him. Someone’s divorce, someone’s death, you name it, he found a way to make it all come back to him. And I couldn’t tell what he and Jade even saw in each other, other than the physical attraction, because the book picks up after their relationship has sort of ended. Without knowing what it was that created that spark between the two of them, I found it very difficult to care about their ‘endless love’ (haha).
I thought that David was obsessed with Jade. He declared his love for her, committed crimes and violated conditions of his release because of his feelings for her, basically stalked her family in order to stalk her, etc. I found none of that romantic.
I did see the film adaptation with Kathy, and other than the names and a house fire, there wasn’t much else that seemed to come from the book. And you know what? I liked the movie! It honestly bore zero resemblance to the book, but I could tell just from the commercials that it was very very different, and I appreciated that. Had the movie followed the book much more closely, it would have been bleak.
I found the book sort of depressing, to be honest. David’s whole life was about Jade and in the end, it didn’t land him anywhere good. I felt bad for him, but I felt worse for the people that he had hurt in his quest to find and be with Jade.
I was really looking forward to our book club discussion on this one! There were some parts of the book that I know had us all reaching for the mind bleach (chapter 14!). I’m not really sure how to rate this one. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t like most (any?) of the characters, but thought the book overall was pretty well written. I’m all mixed up about this one!