Books

The Love Hypothesis – Ali Hazelwood

If I was an author I do not think I would write about academia. Academia is actually quite boring. It is the best thing in the world. Learning new things is absolutely amazing, yet doing academia and reading about them are two different things. I did not hate it, I also do not think I wouldn’t read another book about academia but simply as a concept, I would have never thought it would be fun. But maybe that is because book academia is different from real academia.

The book in short
As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.


That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding… six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

I got this information here.

Disclaimer
This book contains erotic material. If you do not feel comfortable reading erotic stories, skip chapter 16. If you want to be really sure skip page 266 onwards and start reading again at page 286 roughly half of the page. In addition sexual harassment is mentioned in the book, this is such a integral part of the book that if you are uncomfortable it’s better to just skip the book altogether. 

What did I think?
Honestly, this is one of the books I didn’t know what to think about when I was reading it. Sometimes this happens to you.

I actually wanted to start of this review by referring to science and how it is good that authors write about academia. I did however want to add that it is important for an author to be sure about what information they share. As it should at least be scientifically sound. However, I cannot do this as the author herself has an PhD. I think I say enough when I tell you I was a bit surprised about this. Some of the things might be due to the difference in country which I do doubt but alright. Other things though? There is no excuse.

The rules that apply for the testing on animals are immense. I took one class where we talked about this and where they usually do dissection. Due to the schools being closed this did not happen. What did happen was the class before the dissection class, the hour and a half lecture about the ethics of working with animals. The information how we can use the least amount of animals for the best possible rewards towards science. I find it honestly a bit disgusting that one needs dozens of animals. These animals for science are breed specifically for science. They are used as sparingly as possible, yes working on animals is sometimes a must. But the rules and regulations are immense. They are reviewed a whole lot and alternatives are being made as we speak. I do not work on animals, I never wanted to nor is it necessary in my area of expertise. Why you might wonder? Because we already know a lot of things, therefor we can work on humans now. I understand that you do not have to grieve and cry about working with those animals, of course, you don’t. It would make working unbearable and it would be better on you personally to not work with these animals. I do feel that working with animals is something that is very serious, as this is written for the wider public I would have loved to have a bit more of the ethics of academia involved. You cannot ever do anything when it is not approved by an ethics board. You can say about working on animals what you want some of it might even be true. But if academia tries one thing it is not to be wasteful. It is for these animals to not have died in vain. I think that this did not come across at all. In my personal opinion, it sends the wrong message.

The other problem I have is much worse in my opinion. I found this so shocking that I want to quote the piece of text I am talking about: “No that is not the way it works. Virginity is not a continuous variable. It’s categorical. Binary. Nominal. Dichotomous. Ordinal, potentially”.

I put down the book when I read this, I must admit I was so confused. I enjoy statistics I am actually very good at statistics I was actually sent a letter to invite me to apply to a statistics master’s. I did wonder though. I thought ‘eh? This is not the same thing at all, this sentence does not do what it tries to do. It is not wrong to use these words and terms but it is very confusing as it does not do what you make it. Categorical and ordinal are so vastly different that it can not be used this way. Now it looks as if it is the same thing. I never would have cared if I didn’t know statistics but I do and it bothers me.

Now for some positive notes. I found the love story in itself decent enough. Athough the best friend did not strike me as believing in true love so much that she needed Olive to kiss someone else. She just didn’t want to be in a relationship with a guy that Olive used to date if she still liked her. if olive just had a conversation with her, a real and honest sit-down. None of this would have happened but then again we wanted all of this to happen. Anh would rather be sad herself than hurt her bestie. That is the sort of friend we all need. 

Something that irritated me to no end is the constant remarks about love stories that generally happen. Such as ‘if we share a hotel there will only be one bed’ (not a direct quote). This was probably meant to be funny. The idea was I have no doubt to make someone smile and think about all those stories that do in fact do this. I felt that it was quite tactless as if the author tried to make her book better because she didn’t pick the most obvious path. It also took me out of the story.

Also, on the cover, it states that this is a good version of the grumpy meet sunshine phenomenon. I find this odd as lovely as Olive is. Isn’t really “a sunshine” or at least that is not how I would characterize her. She is lovely and sweet and clever but she is quite dark.. She is lonely, she is insecure. I mean there is nothing wrong with that, I could have described myself or most of my friends. Yet, I thus do not feel you could describe her as the sunshine. Also, I find Adam to be proper in his way of being. I do not agree to be mean to students. I do however agree that telling students that they are amazing and that their work is lovely is not the way to go. I also feel that being mean in feedback is not the best way, but how will you learn if the negative things are not mentioned? In general his way of never talking about students with Olive and him making sure they are actually allowed to date. I find those things to be quite good. I do not find him to be “the grumpy” he is a good supervisor that sometimes does not come across nice. But he is so sweet and caring towards Olive and later her friends and he genuinely cares about his students. Painting him as “the grumpy” does him a disservice

The part about supervisors especially bad supervisors made me feel some type of way. I admit some tears fell. I had a terrible supervisor in my bachelor year. I kept feeling that it was not his fault that he did not know any better. The thing is, I know now that he did. He did know better. Much better. Having done my bachelor’s and almost finished my master’s I know what is improper behaviour of a supervisor. He did not give guidance, he kept telling us we were doing no good. I had this terrible anxiety and when I was honest about it he assured me I was doing great. He assured me I was not going to fail. Then a few weeks before the hand-in, he told me I was doing horribly, that he had misspoken, and that my thesis needed a lot more work. He also told us (as we worked in a group for data collection) that we had to hand in our discussion on Friday. It was late afternoon on a Monday. The reason? The second reader was also doing this and he thought it was a great idea. The final straw? Every single time we had a discussion with this man we made an agenda to keep him on task. We sent this well in advance so that he could prepare so that we could prepare and keep on task. We also went out of our way to be available when he was available because he was a Ph.D. student and we were doing our Bachelor so we wanted to be as accommodating as possible. Our thanks? We got a bad grade on ‘participation’, where everyone and their mother got an amazing grade (it’s known if you participate well, you will do well in this portion or at least that is the way it is supposed to be). Due to this, I have terrible anxiety when sending my work for someone to check, and when I have to read feedback. When I want to change things due to feedback I have this crippling fear of all of it being horrible or changing it in a terrible way. As a neuropsychologist, you write a lot of reports so I was honest with my internship, as well as the supervisor of my thesis. Here is the thing though, the fear never leaves. It lessens, certainly. But the feeling I get when I click sent might never go away. The thing in academia is that it feels personal, the work is personal. It has a part of you in there. All those hours, all that work.

This is why I am so unsure about doing a Ph.D., I do not ever want to feel that way again nor do I want to give anyone else that feeling. In a way it is like teaching was. I never wanted to be responsible for a child not succeeding because they did not understand what I was trying to teach them. But this does make me feel that Adam’s feedback was fair.

Having reflected on the book and reading my review I must say I sound critical. I know I do but I certainly did really like it. The love story was solid. Olive was a wonderful character I liked her and Adam together. I thought they were a great fit. I thought the book did wonderful when speaking to and about sexual harassment. It took me a long time to form a true and solid opinion of the book, here is my final review. If I see another Ali Hazelwood in stores, I will buy it.


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