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The Consequences of Love Reviews

The Consequences of Love by Gavanndra Hodge

The Consequences of Love

Gavanndra Hodge

4.11 out of 5

5 reviews

Imprint: Michael Joseph Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 14 May 2020
ISBN: 9780241413326
4 stars out of 5
Elizabeth Lowry
11 Jun 2020

"beautifully written and utterly heartbreaking"

The Consequences of Love is a courageous attempt at coming to an accommodation with loss. It’s also an inspired, at times bleakly comic narrative about living in a family so spectacularly dysfunctional that it could have formed the basis of a book in its own right. “I have spent over two decades pretending to be a different person, someone who fits into the world that I find myself a part of,” Hodge admits. The high achiever is a hard-won facade; her true backstory isn’t one of glamorous accomplishment but of the “savage self-confidence which comes from desperation”, of “skin-of-the-teeth survival”. 

Reviews

5 stars out of 5
6 Jun 2020

"Her sentences are plain and pitiless, beautiful when recalling all that’s foul"

At a time when so many families are losing loved ones, and are denied even the scant comfort funerals provide, there is no more poignant moment for this book to appear. It is a compelling argument for giving way to total agony — for ‘we live in the memories of those who love us’. Ultimately, the pain of this memoir lies not in the original loss but in the years denying it: ‘I had a sister, but I have lost her twice — once when she died and again when I forgot her.’

4 stars out of 5
Sarah Hughes
25 May 2020

"(a) wise and moving memoir"

Most of all, however, this memoir is an acknowledgment that love demands a price. As a child, Hodge loved her father with an intensity that not only ignored his flaws but also gilded them with a tarnished glamour. Now, as an adult, she admits, “he damaged people and that damage lives on even though he has gone”.

Yet, as this wise and moving memoir makes clear, if you are prepared to meet the price – to accept unflinchingly all the different parts that live within you, both beautiful and ugly, and to acknowledge that others see and love them, too – then the rewards are worth the heartache.

4 stars out of 5
Johanna Thomas-Corr
10 May 2020

"The Consequences of Love is an unflinchingly honest testament that doesn’t come to any easy conclusions"

Hodge shows tender patience towards her forlorn mother, but finds her religion hard to stomach. Her father was easier. “He never required me to be honest, only complicit, which is much more fun, and fun is what you think you need when the world is falling down around you.” But Gavin always confided too much about his “dormant sex beast”. His love for his dead daughter is juxtaposed with his corrupting of little lost girls to whom he was happy to supply drugs. At times Hodge’s devotion to her amoral father seems delusional — but there is something poignant in her need to extract something of value from the damage he inflicts.

4 stars out of 5
7 May 2020

"by the end of this dazzling debut you just want to give her a huge cheer for coming through"

The structure is technically ambitious, with chapters jumping between past and present with tenses to match, and Hodge pulls it off in style. At one stage she bravely conducts a journalistic interview with her formerly alcoholic mother as she finds it is the only way she can ask difficult questions...

Tolstoy tells us that each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, and here is a compelling anatomy of one family’s unique implosion. There are scenes that will reduce you to tears, but there’s also humour, forgiveness and uplifting optimism. Hodge says she hates the word survivor, but by the end of this dazzling debut you just want to give her a huge cheer for coming through.