In 2008 House and Garden Editor in Chief Dominque Browning lost her job when Conde Nast abruptly shuttered the publication. Her new book Slow Love is a recounting of the year she spent recovering from the shock.
Parts of this book were perfect. Her description of the nastiness of the magazine world was fascinating. Similarly I loved her recounting of her physical reactions to unemployment: manic bursts of energy followed by long periods of lethargy plus the irresistible urge to eat peanut butter. There were many moments in this book where I smiled with a knowing nod. We’ve all been there.
Despite the many shining moments the book didn’t work for me. The plot concentrates heavily on her relationship with a man who I found infuriating. Her inability to leave him behind was immensely depressing. He’s thanked in the book credits, which made me feel queasy and sad. Secondly, I felt that the overall story lacked a definitive narrative arc. The conflict drags on indefinitely but the resolution is vague. Thirdly, I think for many it’s hard to identify with Browning’s struggle. Her emotional problems are real but she is still very privileged. It grates to hear Browning talk of the difficulty of selling one of her two houses.
Overall I appreciated Browning’s candor and enjoyed her voice. She is immensely likeable, so much so that I wish that I enjoyed her book enough to recommend it with more enthusiasm and fewer caveats.
The BlogHer Book Club sponsored this book review and post. To learn about Slow Love and the BlogHer bookclub please click here.