Endless LovePosted: 2010/05/04
Spencer, Scott. Endless Love. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987.
At the center of Endless Love is David Axelrod. David starts his story remembering how, as a 17 year in love, he set fire to his girlfriend’s house. Not as an out-of-anger act of revenge but more of an uncontrollable response to an all-consuming love for his girlfriend, Jade Butterfield, and her family. Having been banished from the Butterfield home David’s plot is to ignite the house in the hopes the fire will give him the perverse opportunity to become the hero and ultimately rescue the entire family from the inferno he started. His desire to be needed by the entire family is blinding. Of course David’s plot doesn’t work out so smoothly…and thus begins Unless Love. It is a dark and tangled tale about obsessions and the inability to see past them. It is about dysfunctional families that use one another to seem normal. It is about struggling relationships set against the ever turbulent late 1960s. In the middle is confused, young, obsessed David Axelrod. He reminds me of Llyod Dobler from ‘Say Anything’ – an all-around nice guy with little direction and not much more ambition who can sum up his life in one sentence, “I just want to be with your daughter….sir.”
My favorite quotes are on the subject of love: “Love gives us a heightened consciousness through which to apprehend the world, but anger gives us a precise, detached perception of its own” (p 40) and, “If endless love was a dream, then it was a dream we all shared, even more than we all shared the dream of never dying or of traveling through time, and if anything set me apart it was not my impulses but my stubbornness, my willingness to take the dream past what had been agreed upon as the reasonable limits, to declare that this dream was not a feverish trick of the mind but was an actuality at least as real as that other, thinner, more unhappy illusion we call normal life” (p 162).
I think the reason why I liked Endless Love so much is because every character was a head-scratcher. It wasn’t just David Axelrod who had a personality worth paying attention to. the story of his parents held mysteries to be explored. Every member of Jade Butterfield’s family kept the story alive and buzzing with intrigue. The questions most asked – who would defend David? Who would forgive him? Who wouldn’t forget?
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in two different chapters. First, in the chapter called, “First Lines to Remember” (p 87), and again in “Sex and the Single Reader” (p 218).