I wanted to love this book, but I didn't. The History of Love started off as a beautiful novel about two characters whose lives are woven together in such complex ways. The story spans of period of over 60 years and takes readers from Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to present day Brighton Beach. At the center of each main character's psyche is the issue of loneliness, and the need to fill a void left empty by lost love. Leo Gursky is a retired locksmith who immigrates to New York after escaping SS officers in his native Poland, only to spend the last stage of his life terrified that no one will notice when he dies. ("I try to make a point of being seen. Sometimes when I'm out, I'll buy a juice even though I'm not thirsty.")
Then it switches to the voice of fourteen-year-old Alma Singer and the book lost me. Alma vacillates between wanting to memorialize her dead father and finding a way to lift her mother's veil of depression. At the same time, she's trying to save her brother Bird, who is convinced he may be the Messiah, from becoming a 10-year-old social pariah. I just don't care for Alma or her family.
I just couldn't get into this book.
Rating: 1 Do Not Recommend