‘A breakup is like a death without a funeral.’
Oh Hazel you’ve done it again, haven’t you? I finished Out of Love this morning and all I want is a big cup of tea and an even bigger hug; I’ve been left an emotional wreck. For the past five years I’ve followed Hazel on all her creative journeys, her short-film Happy and Time of the Month series being a stand-out favourites and videos I continue to re-watch, always with a box of tissues at the ready. So, when I heard she was writing a novel, I knew I was in for a treat.
Hazel posses the rare ability to craft an effortlessly real and raw narrative, that takes its readers by the hand and invites them to experience the intimate inner-workings of her characters psyche and emotions. The first chapter breaks your heart, and we spend the rest of the novel, alongside our narrator, tentatively putting ourselves back together and remising on the highs and lows of love. Most of us have endured the repercussions of heartbreak and even if you are fortunate enough to have avoided such pain, then still you won’t be immune to the poignant and soul-stirring effects of her writing. The narrative is pocketed with witty sarcasm and Hazels trademark cynical humour that masks the true sentiment of a break-up, creating a warming sense of security that successfully avoids the sappy cliches of many contemporary love stories,
Hazel manages to capture the essence of a break-up and those final stages of a relationship beautifully, the entire novel is a treasure trove of powerfully meaningful quotes. Each turning off the page uncovers another delicate layer of intimacy, as we delve further not only into our protagonists relationships but our own. The novel starts off as a ‘break-up in reverse’ but is ultimately an individual journey of self-discovery and worth. The narrative is poetically human and handles heavy themes of abuse and mental health with the upmost respect and awareness.
Like our protagonists, I struggle with endings, but I closed this book and left these characters with an overwhelming hope and optimism. I’m grateful to have shared this journey and I only wish that one day I will be able to write half as well as Hazel. I hope in the future I’ll have the opportunity to thank Hazel in person for everything she’s unknowingly helped me with and for being (I know it sounds cheesy) but a truly wonderful inspiration and friend.