God-Shaped Hole was first released in 2002, but has recently been re-released by Sourcebooks Landmark. It’s quite an amazing book. The story is told by Beatrice and it begins when she is 12 years old. She’s at a party where an old fortune teller foretells that she will have great love, but he will die young and leave her alone. From here, we jump to Beatrice in her 20’s, answering a personal ad from someone “seeking a friend for the end of the world”. That someone is Jacob Grace, and after reading their love story, you simply won’t be the same.
I loved this book. That’s the simplest way I can say it. I laughed, I cried, I yelled, and I giggled. I read beautiful words of wisdom, and detailed sex scenes. I fell in love with these characters, and fell a little out of love, and then we reconciled. Beatrice and Jacob are both enthralling characters. They share issues surrounding their fathers from childhood, which realistically impacts their relationship as it develops. As they fall in love, it was hard not to smile at their relationship. Jacob is goofy, interesting, and a writer. He does ridiculously romantic things without trying to be romantic. He’s one of a kind, and you can’t help but want to be friends with him. Beatrice is taken aback by him, and she’s not sure what to do with him. She herself is an artist, but she can be a little neurotic, and a bit of an overthinker when it comes to Jacob, something I could totally relate to…even if it made me yell at her sometimes. The prose really helps here, too. It’s beautiful and lyrical, doesn’t shy away from sex, and the descriptions are such that you can play a movie in your mind and see the two of them falling for each other quickly, almost effortlessly, but also realistically. I’ve had friends who met their significant others and fallen hard and been engaged within six months–and this was like seeing their relationship begin from the inside.
Despite the beautiful nature of the love story, including philosophical conversations between Beatrice and Jacob, the whole novel also manages to have a sense of foreboding laying over it. The fortune teller set up begins it, but Beatrice’s insecurities also fill in shades of uncertainty tinging their happiness. This uncertainty hits home the message that happiness and love are both tenuous, fleeting concepts. Something bad can happen at any time, to any one…and you’re left wondering if tragedy will somehow impact this fragile young beautiful thing that Beatrice and Jacob are building. Such is life. This fear of something tragic compelled me to keep reading, and made the novel very hard to put down. It’s a novel that will perhaps change your life, or at least your outlook on life. It’s a novel that I know I will revisit, once I’m ready, and maybe only in pieces, but one I will continue to value. I highly recommend it, especially to those of us in our late 20s and early 30s.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Note: I received this book from Netgalley & the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Will you read this book? Do you have any recommendations for books with main characters in this same stage of life? Let me know in the comments!