One night my college roommate sat straight up in bed and belted out:
And right in the middle of a good dream
When all at once I wake up
From something that keeps knockin’ at my brain.
Before I go insane
I hold my pillow to my head
And spring up in my bed
Screaming out the words I dread:
“I think I love you!”
I wasn’t quite of the David Cassidy generation. And neither was she, but she had grown up on Partridge Family reruns and this was one of her favorite songs. It became one of those running private jokes throughout college. Whenever one of us had a crush, the other one would end up singing this. So, when I first heard of this book I was attracted by the title alone. Then when I saw it was written by Allison Pearson, the author of I Don’t Know How She Does It., I knew I wanted to read it.
Pearson’s books are fluff but fantastic, funny fluff. She is a master of writing about fairly ordinary things and capturing the absurd humor in a lot of everyday life. The first half of this book takes place in 1974 Wales where Petra and Sharon are 13 yr old girls who are obsessive fans of David Cassidy. Their lives center around a scheme to attend one of Cassidy’s last concerts in London and their entry for the Ultimate David Cassidy Fan Quiz. Pearson beautifully captures the emotions of a 13 yr old girl who is part of the popular crowd but only just. Petra longs to be included but knows that Gillian, their particular Queen Bee, could ruin her life at any moment. Petra and Sharon’s story is also alternated with that of Bill, a young twenty-something writer for the Ultimate David Cassidy Fan Magazine who reluctantly has become the voice of David. The second half of the book features an adult Petra who discovers that she and Sharon actually won that long-ago contest but never knew it. Petra, who is going through a divorce, recovering from the death of her own mother and struggling with her own 13 yr old daughter, calls the magazine to see if she can claim her prize: a trip for two to meet Cassidy. Twenty-fve years late she and Sharon travel to Las Vegas to finally meet their teenage idol.
Pearson explores the idea of celebrity and why we idolize stars but this book is more about basic human relationships than David Cassidy. The mother-daughter relationship. The husband-wife relationship. The first love relationship. The childhood best friend relationship. The relationships between women that can be supportive or catty. It’s very very funny but it’s also very real. Then ending is somewhat unbelievable but it’s what you want to happen and it’s unapologetically unbelievable so I just gave in to the ride and enjoyed it. My version of the book included at the end the transcript of an interview that Pearson did with David Cassidy that was apparently the inspiration for the book.
I Think I Love You probably won’t go on my end of the year best list but it was a good read. This isn’t really book candy and neither is it a big healthy salad. It’s more like a big delicious piece of chocolate cake. Yummy and satisfying.