Men respond to The Conditions of Love

young_man_reading_candle_ligh_hiPeople sometimes ask me who I write for. Do I have an ideal reader in mind while I’m writing? The question always surprises me. My focus has always been so much on living with my characters, listening to them, observing them, trying to help them make decisions. Thinking about who I’m presenting them to always struck me as a distraction from where my attention needed to be. Because Eunice was so central to the writing of The Conditions of Love, I suppose I did want women readers to recognize a part of themselves in her, to respond to her as a living, three-dimensional character. And at readings and in letters, I’ve had the delicious pleasure of hearing from many women about how much they identified with Eunice.

But what really surprised and delighted me was that I would hear from so many men. Not that they identify with Eunice, but that they were moved by the story, that they felt they learned something about love from the book. Was I really able to do that? Here are some samplings:

I treasure books where the characters stay with you a long time after you finish the book; and this was definitely one of those books.  The Conditions of Love resonates with the experiences and feelings of real life.  In that regard, I felt that every character in the story was like someone I have personally known in my own life.  It is a book that, after turning the final page, left me with a feeling of being fully and wonderfully satisfied at the finish.—D.F.


Eunice is one of the most complete, believable, sympathetic, occasionally annoying characters, I’ve discovered in a long time. . . . I’ve been reading a lot of women writers again and, though this is not a ‘woman’s book,’ whatever that means, it’s the best I’ve read this year along with A.M. Homes, Spiotta, and Oates. –D.W.


FW 2010Your story and characters were so original and unusual but somehow in the context of your tale completely believable. . . . You made me think and ponder. You made me want to share your insights with others. At times you made me think about my life and the people who have come and gone but most of all the people who are here and now and how I might use your wisdom to help me heal those relationships which need healing.—R.B.


I don’t real as many novels as I should, as I am so often disheartened by the language.  I have underlined so many sentences for their sheer beauty, and the characters are riveting and so multi- dimensional. This is a tour de force.—R.M.

How does reading these make me feel? Surprised does not begin to describe it. I’m so much more than pleased. It’s much like the excitement you feel at the beginning of a new relationship. I feel like the book has achieved so much more than I expected. And I’m gaining a new appreciation of what men are capable of – and perhaps falling a little in love with this new idea of an ideal male reader.

johnny depp on train

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