Book Review: If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin—a powerful and emotional read.

If I Can’t Have You is Charlotte Levin’s debut novel which portrays mental health, obsession and addiction through Constance as a lonely character.

Synopsis: If I Can’t Have You

Samuel, the day we met I knew I’d finally found what I’d been waiting for. You.

Happiness, at last.

Then you left me.

And now I am alone.

Everyone I love leaves in the end.

But not this time.

I’m not giving up on us.

I’m not giving up on you.

When you love someone, you never let them go.

That’s why, for me, this is just the beginning.

If I Can’t Have You format: Available as audio book and paper back, 393 pages and 10 hours 42 minutes for audio book listeners.

Book Review

When Constance meets Samuel at her work in a doctor surgery, she immediately knows he’s the one for her.

The Plot and Theme of the book:

The book is portrayed from Constance’s point of view. It is written as a letter from Constance to Samuel addressing their journey, every encounter they have, the things he does and says and her feelings towards him along with why she decides to do the stupid things she does. Constance voices very extreme feelings towards Samuel which are not always reciprocated which leads her to do unthinkable things to save their relationship. When Constance finds out that Samuel doesn’t have the same feelings as her, she knows she cannot let him go and will go as far as she can to be with this love of her life. Constance as a character has been portrayed in a way that she does not care about her appearance; she is an avid smoker and drinker which gives her this addictive personality throughout the book. The moments where Constance talks about her sad and lonely childhood makes you think that this has an impact on her future life and her obsessive personality. It is easy to flaw Constance as a character which I find interesting when reading. It comes across that Constance needs someone to care for her and she can’t go through the pain of losing someone she loves once again. This is where the obsession is brought in and explained further. As soon as I read the blurb of this book, I knew I had to read it. This book has a very powerful storyline to it and portrays the effects of mental health effectively.

The front cover:

I enjoy looking at a bright front cover of a book because it stands out to me. The artwork on the front shows pieces of paper teared off which explains the letter Constance writes throughout the book. The ripped piece of paper effectively shows the one-sided relationship Constance is having with Samuel. The front cover of Charlotte’s book is simple with no images but extremely successful in conveying the theme and story of the book.

Overall opinion of the book:

I read this book in February 2023 and I have never read this type of topic before so I was unsure what I would think. I was thoroughly surprised when I couldn’t stop reading and had to carry on finding out what Constance would do next. This genre and the themes mentioned may be sensitive for some people, therefore, this book might not be suitable for everyone. There are parts of the story which can be emotional and frustrating too.

The short sentences in the blurb make it easy to draw you in before reading, also the way it has been written is again in the form of a letter which portrays the whole plot of the book strongly. If you like the sound of this book, I would definitely recommend!

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