Over the last few months, I’ve read a handful of memoirs and contemporary fiction where travel and locales play a major role in the story. So I’ll have some book reviews to come that I think are great armchair travel reads – the perfect remedy to satiate your wanderlust when you can’t exactly leave town. First up is I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum.
When you read a title like that, you don’t immediately think a romantic plot is involved but I found it to be more romantic than expected. Richard is a British artist in his mid-30s who is having an affair and his wife Anne finds out about the affair around the same time one of his paintings that was sentimental to their marriage is sold. So Richard is determined to not only get the painting back but to make Anne fall in love with him all over again.
Even though the author is a female, she wrote the story from Richard’s perspective and very well. While I can only imagine what it must feel like to cheat on someone or to be cheated on, Courtney Maum presents the situation in such an authentic way. Readers get inside the head of Richard to hear all of his witty, self-deprecating, and heartbreaking thoughts. While I should have hated Richard, I couldn’t help but feel bad for him and towards the end I was rooting for him to win back the affections of his wife.
The story is set during 2003, a post 9/11 world where America is on the cusp of war with Iraq and Richard uses the current state of affairs as inspiration for a new art installation to help him get back to a more authentic and raw art career. I’ve never read a book that used such a tumultuous time as part of the setting and it was unique and interesting.
But of course what I loved the most about the book were the various physical destinations including Paris, where Richard and Anne live, the seashore in Brittany, London, Hemel Hempstead, and even Rhode Island. All of these places played their part to tell the story and if you check out Courtney Maum’s tumblr you can see photos of the landmarks and sites that inspired the settings in the book.
I Am Having So Much Fun Here With You is not your typical love story, but it’s a realistic one that will make you laugh and melt your heart all at the same time. Worth a read!