Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: Love and Other Foreign Words

“Love and Other Foreign Words,” by Erin McCahan. The Goodreads summary:
Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue -- the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word -- at least not in a language Josie understands.
I grinned my way through this book. There’s no other way to describe it. Josie just cracks me up. From the summary, I thought I was going to find her annoying (the whole trying to break up her sister’s wedding thing seemed like it was going to be a bit much), but she didn’t annoy me at all. Probably because when you’re inside Josie’s head, you can totally see why she hates her sister’s fiancé.

The story was pretty predictable, but I was too distracted by how amusing it was to really care all that much. I really liked that Josie was close to her family. Even when she’s fighting with her sister, you can still tell that they love each other. And her parents were the greatest. And hilarious. I just really enjoyed the generally un-angsty family dynamic.

But as light and fun as this book is, it also made me think. Josie has this whole theory about how everyone speaks their own “language,” and how different groups speak different “languages,” and you have to learn to speak those languages to be able to communicate with them. (It makes way more sense in the book than how I just explained it, probably). And reading about it made me really grateful for the people in my life who speak my language. The people who speak fluent Karen. Like Josie, I feel like I’ve learned to translate other people’s languages pretty well, but it’s always such a relief when I find those people who I can talk to without the translation step because, like Josie says, “it is impossible to be fully yourself in a foreign language.”

Anyway, since this review has descended into rambling, I’ll wrap it up.

Overall, a thoroughly entertaining book with a main character that I wouldn’t mind being friends with in real life.

Rating: 3.5 / 5


  1. Yay for this book! I thought it was really cute but hardly anyone has read it. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

  2. This book sounds super cute!! Love the concept of the different languages and will totally have to pick this one up. I think you described the language thing perfectly. So interesting.


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