Book Review: ‘Straight Talking’ by Jane Green

By Mourad EL HANAFI

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Azilal, Morocco
November 1st, 2015

Straight Talking is a novel of beauty, love, sex, and heartbreak.

The narrator–the heroine–Tasha, as her intimate friends like to call her, is a young lady who is in constant search of passion. She’s a beauty, but when it comes to handsome men, she is gullible; with a little bit of flattery and eloquence on the part of the men she keeps an eye on, she falls over herself and frantically goes for it. Passion is always the premise on which she builds relationships that would hopefully lead her to settle down and enjoy a safe marital life.

Unfortunately, every time she finds passion, security and respect are on the missing list. She has affairs with men she fancies, but as soon as they are out of her sight, she develops a fear of abandonment to the extent that she grows paranoid. Worse still, every man she has a crush on leaves her out of the blue. Simon, the man she loves most, leaves her for a blonde model, and all the other men she is in love with split up with her for some reason or other. They are perpetual moments of heartbreak she constantly relives.

Adam is an exception. He is always there for her. He comes in handy to help her stop her crying and heal the wounds she has. He is there to help her compose herself during sleepless nights, and is also there when she awakes with a tear-stained face.

Adam is the sort of man she loves but is not in love with! There is security and respect, but passion is absent. The situation is utterly reversed now!

Days pass by. Tasha is a free agent now; she takes some time alone so that she might rectify her “love behavior,” and Adam finally announces his love for her. She feels perplexed about this, for passion is the thing that pushes her. She gives him the chance, though. She is really happy with him, but she can’t forget about passion: it is akin to a huge space that needs to be filled in her innermost feelings.

Because she is a passion junkie, Tasha looks for it again with one of her old acquaintances—Andrew—whom she fancied a long ago. One time, in her flat where Adam and she live, Andrew happens to be there. They are stand in the living room, shifting from one subject to another until they both are so passionate and kiss (which Tasha has longed for). Adam catches them red-handed and instantly leaves without saying a word.

Tasha feels sorry for both herself and Adam. She doesn’t have a clue how to explain her feelings to Adam, the man she loves and respects. Finally she finds him, and with awful sorrow on her face, she awkwardly spit out the sentences she carefully organized in her mind; but she bandies around the passion thing again. Adam can’t easily forgive her behavior. She tells him that she must allow herself some time to think of their relationship seriously and to see if she can continue—he agrees.

Tasha is single once again. Accordingly, she looks for Andrew to practice passion and decide whether or not it’s so important in a relationship.

Tasha makes her way to meet Andrew. She books a room in the hotel where they are going to meet, just in case. They sit in a corner at the café, speaking a language that is full of lust, and within minutes, they end up in the hotel room, making out. After a while, she feels bored and abruptly stops. She feels that sleeping with men like Andrew for passion makes one a tart. Andrew has no idea why she stops, so he gets angry with her and slams the door behind him. Afterward, she thinks only of Adam and comes to believe that passion is not everything in relationships. Before passion, there should be respect and security.

She tries to call Adam many times to admit how much she loves him, but there is no reply. She feels insecure again that she risks losing the man she loves and respects. She is afraid the best relationship she has ever dreamed of will fall flat. She asks, “Why on earth would I scrap my relationship with my Adam?”

Now, she realized how naïve she is to trail behind passion blindly and how stupid she is to trade respect, security, and warmth for a moment of passion. She feels assured that she wants only Adam. She knows that passion will come and grow in the course of time.
Tasha calls Adam and this time he picks up the phone and listens to her. Later, after tough negotiations about a spectrum of things on their love, Tasha and Adam make a lovely couple.

Thanks to Andrew and her adventures, Tasha comes to a turning point she never expects, and comes to confirm William Wharton’s saying by which the novel starts, “What is love? As far as I can tell, it is passion, admiration, and respect. If you have the two, you have enough. If you have all three, you don’t have to die to go to heaven.”

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