As one of the most relatable and realistic romantic contemporaries of the year, Leslie Cohen’s novel This Love Story Will Self-Destruct astounds as it pairs the cliche with the utterly heartbreaking. Following young adults Ben and Eve through a dual point-of-view narration, the book tells the tale of “boy meets girl: Girl…goes home with someone else.”
Throughout the novel, Ben and Eve encounter each other at the most inconvenient of moments, considering each other acquaintances who need not interact. However, as the novel progresses, so do their feelings towards each other, and the two begin a relationship full of shared pain and crazy love. A modern reimagining of the classic film When Harry Met Sally, Cohen’s work manages to highlight both the frustrations of a “will they-won’t they” relationship and the happiness found in the cliche “opposites attract.”
Unfortunately, the novel starts on an extremely melancholy note, and while this emotion hyperbolizes human pain, it also makes the story heavy and undercuts much of the promised comedy. When this comedy does appear, it can feel depreciating and sad. But these cons are ultimately outweighed by the gritty, relatable reality of the novel’s events and the endearingly flawed, well-developed personalities of the characters.