I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH

 
 
 
Teenage angst is alive and well in Alicia Drake's I Love You Too Much as thirteen-year old Paul shuttles back and forth between his divorced parents apartments and his school.  A pudgy kid with braces, Paul is silently angry about the divorce, and the fact that no one pays attention to him or his needs - aside from the Filippina housekeeper, Cindy.  His forty-something mom, Severine, has just had a baby with her wastrel rock-band boyfriend, and his dad is too busy working or exercising to make time for him.  Starving for love and attention, Paul stuffs himself with cakes, cookies, and Cindy's rice, finding emotional sustenance in food.  He randomly befriends Scarlett, a precocious classmate, when they are thrown together during an unhappy family vacation.  Paul unwillingly becomes witness to several shocking events that he can't share with anyone.  The secrets fester inside of him, until he comes to the breaking point.
This book is quite a departure from the one Drake is best known for, A Beautiful Fall, a non-fiction piece about the rivalry between Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.  However, she has certainly captured a capsule of Parisian life.  A friend of mine used to live in the same neighborhood with her teenage son.  The family dynamics, the non-involved, self-serving parents, the emotionally lost children, are all spot on to the stories I used to hear.  It's a sad look at how the breakup of a family can take a toll on the children.  Well written, a quick and insightful read.
 

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