I Love You Too Much

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What to expect

ELLE book of the month.

I knew I was in Paris, I knew that was the Seine beneath me, the sky above, but when I looked around for help, the grand apartment buildings of the Quai Voltaire stared back at me, indifferent.

In the sixth arrondissement everything is perfect and everyone is lonely. This is the Paris of thirteen-year-old Paul. Shy and unloved, he quietly observes the lives of the self-involved grown-ups around him: his glamorous maman Séverine, her young musician lover Gabriel and his fitness-obsessed papa Philippe. Always overlooked, it’s only a matter of time before Paul sees something that he’s not supposed to see . . .

Seeking solace in his unlikely friendship with tear-away classmate Scarlett and the sweet confections from the elegant neighbourhood patisseries, Paul yearns for unconditional love. But what will he do if he can’t find it?

Alicia Drake evokes contemporary Parisian life with the subtlety of a latter-day Françoise Sagan, and she captures in Paul the pains of adolescence as poignantly as Salinger’s Holden Caulfield. I Love You Too Much is a novel of extraordinary intelligence and heart, a devastating coming-of-age story told from the sidelines of Parisian perfection.

Critics Review

  • Funny, waspish, astute, l Love You Too Much is a heart breaking tale.

    Denise Mina, author of The Long Drop
  • There’s an elegance to Drake’s writing that marks her out as a writer to be reckoned with and she shows fearlessness as she explores the mind of that most troublesome of creatures, the teenage boy . . . I Love You Too Much is a considerable achievement.

    Irish Times
  • There is the most extraordinary sensibility in this book. It is the author’s but she gives it to the reader as thirteen year old Paul’s out of kilter, isolated, yearning perception. Denied love, this vulnerable boy floats, adrift, through Paris like a lost, living ghost. We see – and feel – through his eyes, and the experience is unsettling, unnerving, strangely delicious. Alicia Drake has achieved something very rare.

    Tim Pears, author of In the Light of Morning.
  • The enfant naturel of Henry James’s What Maisie Knew and Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home

    Anne Korkeakivi
  • Drake’s characters are richly drawn and she writes insightfully about teenage angst, the superficiality of wealth, compulsive consumption and familial neglect in a coming-of-age novel that’s replete with evocations of adolescent loneliness and insecurity.

  • Drake nails the plight of a protagonist caught between childhood and the alarming onset of adulthood, but also elicits a pang of sympathy for Paul’s shambolic parents, bruised by their own upbringings . . . the shine of a very enjoyable first novel.

    Daily Mail

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