Book Review – Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love

by Sarah Butler (Picador) ISBN: 978447222491

I read a lot, always looking for that special and unusual book and for this year I have found it! Ten Things I’ve learned about Love is original, funny, unexpected, heart wrenching and full of colourful descriptions and metaphors.

Each chapter starts with a list of ten things, like ‘Ten things I own’ and from that the story unfolds. It is a love story. ‘Once I’ve fallen in love, I find it almost impossible to get out.’

It is about a father who has been looking for his daughter his whole life, but he has never met her and she does not know of him. He leaves secret messages in colours for her. The first letter of each word gives it its colour, like the letter A is ‘the colour of glacier water’. At first she cannot decode his messages. She does not even know that the gifts, the silver back of an earring, a scrap of purple plastic, are messages. And then…

The book reminded me of Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love. It is a riveting read. And I have read it twice already. This is Butler’s first novel. I can’t wait to read more of her. She has won me over completely.

Pauline Vijverberg


Alice returns to her family home to take care of her dying father and to see her two sisters Cee and Tilly.

Butler is an inspiring storyteller and describes her somewhat troubled relationships with her father and her sisters. Ten Things I’ve Learned About Love is a moving story of love and loss. Alice is a free spirited woman who struggles to be back in family home that never quite felt like it was her home. She always felt that her father loved her sisters more than her.

I loved the way Butler structured her novel between Alice’s and her real father’s daily lives and how they eventually connect. I’ve never been to London and had never wanted to, but now I do after reading Butler’s very real descriptions of the streets and daily life.

I did find it a bit slow and I couldn’t wait for Alice to connect with her real father, Daniel but it was definitely worth the read. I guess the saying “home is where the heart is” is true.

Tracy-Ann Damons

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Posted on: 10th February 2013