Updated: May 25, 2020
An Analysis and Review of Talia Hibbert's "Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel"
First, let me start this post off by saying- best adult fiction novel I have read in a while. I felt it was a mature upgrade from the books I used to read in high school. This novel portrayed a love story between two adults that was not abusive or toxic. Rather, the romance in this novel was full of understanding, empathy, and forgiveness without romanticizing forgiving cruel behavior.
"Get a Life Chloe Brown" is about a girl named, you guessed it, Chloe Brown seeking some newfound adventure in her ever-predictable life. While trying to rescue a lost and scared cat from a tree, Redford (Red) Morgan aids Chloe in her cat-rescuing-quest. This scene is just the beginning of the relationship that would blossom between the two. Eventually, Red learns about Chloe's "Get a Life" list and wants to help her with more life experiences. Chloe's list serves to encourage her to live outside of her comfort zone, as she has fibromyalgia which tends to stifle many aspects of her life. Red joins Chloe on her pursuit for adventure and finds he needed some life pushes as well. Together, they explore their fears, vulnerabilities, and life goals, finding life is so much more exciting together.
As mentioned earlier, what I love about this book is the portrayal of a healthy adult relationship, particularly a black woman in a healthy relationship. In Hibbert's author bio it states, "[Hibbert] writes sexy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalized identities need honest and positive representation." Chloe is a black, plus sized, and disabled woman. Yes, some of those aspects to her identity come up and drive some of the plot. However, those physical characteristics do not define her character. Despite her being a black woman, she does not have to settle for anything less than she deserves to find love. She can meet and fall in love with a man who encourages her to live life freely and honestly without feeling guilty for putting herself first sometimes. There is one line Red tells Chloe that hit me right in the feels. It is in chapter 17. At this point, Red has made his feelings for Chloe pretty clear; however, she was hesitant to reciprocate the honesty because of past relationship trauma keeping her from letting Red in completely. So, he reassures her,
"There's a big difference between being a coward and putting your emotional safety first."
Seriously? I died. Red says a bunch of things like that to constantly reassure Chloe and vice versa. Red has also dealt with some abuse in his past relationships, and sometimes his trauma manifests itself as insecurity that he projects onto other people. Chloe is always trying to emphasize to him that he is entitled to his hurt feelings and they will work through them together with communication and empathy. For example, in chapter 19 when Chloe and Red are on their camping trip, Red starts revealing more intimate details about his past. After sharing some painful memories with Chloe, his immediate reaction was to dismiss his trauma. In response, Chloe commands, "Don't dismiss your emotions and your self-protection as just a f*cked-up decision. Don't reduce something so complex and real and important to nothing."
Additionally, I loved how Red recognized his flaws and instead of relying on his relationship with Chloe to bury his hurt, he starts going to therapy. He never makes it Chloe's responsibility to see him through self-actualization. In addition, he helps Chloe with her disability without guilt or manipulation. Because of Chloe's past with her fiancé and friends who left her, he actually goes out of his way to ensure Chloe his help is a no-strings-attached deal. See what I'm getting at? HEALTHY. ADULT. RELATIONSHIP. Red and Chloe fill in each other's gaps. When one needs help in some way, the other is there. Their relationship never feels one sided or taken for granted. It is pure and genuine and was a great relationship to experience.
Again, I LOVED this book. It is absolutely the perfect summer read. It is simultaneously light-hearted and witty, while also navigating some more serious themes of trauma in a controlled and cautious manner. At some points it gets pretty R-rated. But, if you don't mind a little sex here and there, BUY THIS BOOK!
***Author's Note: Preorder Talia Hibbert's upcoming book "Take a Hint Danni Brown" here: https://www.amazon.com/Take-Hint-Dani-Brown-Sisters/dp/0062941232
Also, check out bookofthemonth.com and all their socials where I found this book:
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