Book Review

Get A Life, Chloe Brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert was a book that I had heard so much about. It was highly recommended by literally every single person I’m in contact with who had read it, so I had high hopes for this book.

I feel as though no matter what I say in this review, it won’t do this book justice, so I’m just going to say, “READ THE BOOK!”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Chloe Brown is a Type A computer geek with a chronic illness. After almost dying, she comes up with a plan to help her “get a life,” and makes a list of steps to take to accomplish her goal. Step 1 was to move out of her family’s luxurious mansion. Other steps include:

  • Enjoy a drunken night out.
  • Ride a motorcycle.
  • Go camping.
  • Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
  • Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
  • And … do something bad.

But it isn’t easy being bad when you’ve spent your whole life being good, even when you have a list. Chloe needs someone to help her, and she knows the perfect man for the job.

Redford “Red” Morgan is the superintendent of an apartment complex. He’s covered in tattoos, he’s got a motorcycle, and he’s sexy as hell. He an artist who only paints at night, and Chloe only knows this because she *might* have been spying on him. Just a little.

But when she asks Red to help her get a life, she learns things about him that she couldn’t have learned through her spying sessions. Like why he is so resentful about Chloe’s privileged background, or why he hides his artwork. Or what is really hiding under his tough exterior.

All of the characters are so richly described and well-rounded that they seem like they could jump off the page at any minute. Chloe’s family seems especially endearing, and like people I’d want to be friends with. I noticed that there are going to be books featuring Eve and Dani, so for this review, I’m going to focus on the two main characters: Chloe and Red.

Chloe is a young woman who deals with fibromyalgia and chronic pain, and works from home creating and maintaining websites. Like most people with disabilities, much of her life revolves around her pain and energy levels for the day. On good days, she does the best she can — going for walks, showering, visiting with family. On bad days, she just kind of … exists in a haze of pain that meds don’t really do much about. She’s socially awkward. She’s freaking hilarious. She’s brilliant. And she’s misunderstood. Because of how others have acted towards her in the past, she has developed this hard outer shell as a coping mechanism, unhealthy as that may be.

Red is smart, kind, funny, and confident. He’s talented and sweet. And he’s hella attractive. But he’s got walls up too. And when he comes near Chloe, he becomes stiff and awkward too. Because there’s something about her that makes him want to be closer, but he resents her wealthy background at the same time. He’s the kind of guy that everybody loves … but Chloe seems resistant to his charms, and it makes him doubt himself.

The first thing I noticed, and continued to pick up on throughout the book, was how incredibly accurately this portrayed living with a chronic and disabling illness. There’s this harmful disability trope that is frequently present in literature; you know, where someone who is disabled is somehow less than, or needing to be fixed, or endowed with some other magical talent to make up for what they don’t have. This was one of the first books that showed disability as what it is — a way of life for many of us.

“Most people had trouble accepting the fact that Chloe was ill. Fibromyalgia and chronic illness were invisible afflictions, so they were easy to dismiss.”

There was a trope used that I completely approve of, and that was the enemies to lovers trope. Chloe and Red are hands down the best implementation of this trope that I’ve ever seen. The banter between them is absolutely HILARIOUS to the point where I would be cracking up while reading the book. Thank goodness I wasn’t reading this in public, or I would definitely have gotten some very strange looks. There’s sexual tension between Chloe and Red that is so thick you could cut it with a knife, and when they finally get it on, it was amazing.

This book is the perfect mix of comedy, romance, profanity, emotional ups and downs, and realism. There’s themes of consent, the importance of using protection, knowing your own physical and mental limits, and family. I loved the way it examined the context of relationships, class, race, and challenged our assumptions about gender roles of abusive relationships.

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