Books · mental health · Review

Get A Life, Chloe Brown! A Review

Today, I escaped my comfort zone along with brave Chloe Brown.

I have no regrets.

A hilarious  and inclusive, brave and hopeful fiction!

Have I reviewed a rom-com yet? I haven’t? Well, I am picky about them. The key ingredients for me are: sassy characters, an inclusive message, a hopeful conclusion – and, of course, romance tropes! (Hmm, perhaps the Grumpy Sunshine trope?) 😊

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

After a near death experience, cautious Chloe Brown decides to push her boundaries and makes a list of exciting adventures, sort of a bucket list, except she calls it her Get A Life list. Its all things she’s missed out on over the years while dealing with chronic pain.

(Synopsis from The Book Girl Club Podcast)

Chloe gets a new apartment, independent from her family – check! Her building’s superintendent, Redford “Red” Morgan, is tattooed, sweet, and does not like Chloe. That is, until he surprisingly agrees to help with a few items on her ‘Get A Life’ list. Red is a secret artist, getting back into painting after a traumatic relationship.

‘If she died tomorrow she now knew she’d have no regrets.’

Tropes I love!

This romantic adventure provides almost every sugary trope you might crave! Awkward miscommunication, reminiscent of a Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film, saturates each chapter. Every revellation between Chloe and Red is electric! 😆

Talia Hibbert’s achievement here is a quality rom-com full of sass and hilarity, and a main character with a disability. Disability, mental health, and trauma are not the main focus. Therapy is not the plot. Ill health is not the villain.

Red and Chloe both have good reason to fear of rejection. They have even deeper reasons to overcome that fear. After all, getting a life means taking risks!

I struggle with taking risks, as Chloe does, having lost things due to illness. It can become very difficult to trust good things. There’s strength in surviving and hope in taking first steps. 🌈

Inclusivity means writing characters with real experience outside the norm (whatever normal is). This is brave writing. This is not a mere fun read to pick up at an airport! (Although it is so fun!)

‘“Excuse me, universe,” she whispered to the kitchen floor. “When you almost murdered me today—which was rather brutal, by the way, but I can respect that—were you trying to tell me something?” The universe, very enigmatically, did not respond.’

Sassy Characters

Pay close attention. Watch how Red’s family, friends and acquaintances rejoice in his authentic nurturing and kind personality. His masculinity is beautiful – unapologetic and pretty – and very unlike the male love interests we expect to read.

Watch how Chloe respects Red, treating him like a human being (not just a sexual being). Chloe models respect for herself and others, giving a strong feminist impression. (Feminist meaning equality between men and women.) This is so rare. Even YA books tend to write women/girls romantically or sexually exploiting men/boys as a type of performative feminism. This author clearly believes readers can handle men with emotions – I agree!

I’m not saying Chloe is perfect. (Perfect female characters are misogynistic and cliche.) She makes mistakes, says terrible things, and apologizes like the imperfect human she is. Her actions are inseparably feminist and authentic. Watch how Chloe is not clambering to fix Red, nor he to rescue her. 🙌

‘I can cook. And, right now, you can’t. So I’m doing it for you because that’s how people should behave; they fill in each other’s gaps.’

A Hopeful Message

When I say that this novel makes me feel seen, it is because I have been craving a story that doesn’t solve every pain (unrealistically) by the end credits. When I say this novel leaves me hopeful, it’s because we need as many characters who diverge from stereotypes as possible!

We need Reds and Chloes. Women who are strong, not in a manly way. Men who are nurturing, not in a womanly way. Disabilities that are not plot points to overcome. We need characters knowing better and doing better on the page, modeling true inclusivity.

I take the themes in this book, like compassion, respect and dignity, very personally. I live with chronic health issues. I have felt similar pain to Chloe (emotional, not just physical) and it is devastating. 😭

‘Bravery wasn’t an identity, so much as a choice.‘

We Need More Books!

Content warning: There are sexually explicit descriptions (which means there are expletives used throughout). There is also mention of abuse.

I didn’t read this book when it was first released due to the adult themes. But, there are so few inclusive stories with disabled characters that I don’t feel like I can be picky. When I find wonderful books without explicit language and sexual content, I will share and review them, too! 👍

Let’s support the voices of disabled and marginalized authors! Show the publishing companies we absolutely want more of this. I greatly admire Talia Hibbert for sharing part of herself in this novel. I may even check out the others in her ‘Brown Sisters’ Trilogy!

~ Do you enjoy writing lists?

~ Do you ever forget how to socialize? (Like after a bout of isolation?)

~ What’s your favorite romance trope?


3 thoughts on “Get A Life, Chloe Brown! A Review

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