Cover Image: I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness

I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A delirious and bruising, sorta funny read. I enjoy Claire Vaye Watkins prose and vision, but this was a little patchwork and discombobulating. It felt a little too autobiographical, which might be why it was so messy. I wanted to  love this book, but ended up only liking it.
Was this review helpful?
I was expecting something different from this novel--never the fault of the book itself. I felt lost in the rambling plot, which sometimes strayed pretty far from what the synopsis of the book describes. When I found I was reading all about the MC's father in the Manson cult, I felt completely turned around. Expect an experimental piece.
Was this review helpful?
Front runner for best title of the year!  I think Claire Watkins is a brilliant writer and I am a big fan of Gold Fame Citrus.  Her style is sharp, clever and unique.  That said, I have to say this title was not for me. I find I struggle to connect emotionally to Watkins material and, though I am a mother, I found that to be the case here as well.  I am not sure why.  I suspect it may have something to do with the age difference because I find the self-centered naval-gazing annoying though I am sure I gazed at my own naval plenty in my 20s and 30s. I think younger readers will find these characters more interesting and relatable.
Was this review helpful?
Claire Vaye Watkins I LOVE YOU BUT I'VE CHOSEN DARKNESS is a dark, funny and interesting take on motherhood, growing up in a interesting-to say the least-family dynamic and the ways in which we deal with life as a whole. This book was layered with learning and accepting new things like postpartum depression, revisiting the life of her father as part of the Charles Manson Cult and her own affairs and dealing with her mothers "eccentric" life choices. I found myself wondering if this was truly a work of fiction because it felt so. connected to the character and the hardships- a life so wildly believable that I kept having to look at the jacket and make sure it was a work of fiction! haha.
If you layered women contemporary fiction this is the book for you.
Was this review helpful?
I’m going to update this review once I have something long-form for my blog, but wow. 

I love this book. I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness, and Watkins’ writing in general, is why I love literature so much. 

Narratives on motherhood—and all the quirky takes—have been very ~en Vogue~ this year. This one takes the cake for me, mostly because Watkins managed to effortlessly make it a never-ending story of the ‘more’ that encapsulates these mothers’ existence. The dark caverns that forever haunt those very beings while trying with every fiber to create & raise new ones—some requirements include: erasure of family history/trauma and empathy for all.

ILYBICD sliced and diced my soul and most constructs that have held my existence firmly in its place for the last 30 years. The most seething moments still slid through my brain like butter; irresistible clips of air (by way of equal parts gasp & laughter) and theory begging for annotation (eagerly awaiting a physical copy).

Thank you, Claire. 

CWs: postpartum depression, depression, rape, abortion, substance abuse/addiction, mention of murder, infidelity
Was this review helpful?
Claire Vaye Watkins does it again. I love her writing, and I'm obsessed with the postpartum noir trend happening, mixed with millennial ennui. Who doesn't want to run away into the desert? Who doesn't want to figure out their next path forward? Can't wait to recommend to my people.
Was this review helpful?
When Claire Vaye Watkins opens her powerful new “I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness” with “I've tried to tell this story a bunch of times. This will be my last try.........”, you know that you have just boarded an emotional rollercoaster that will be hard to get off before being deeply impacted.. 

We get to meet 3+ generations of families usually with limited resources, doing what they have to do just to get by. There are times when you wish that people were making better choices, but you have to admire their courage and daring. It is generally the women that do what can be done to hold things together (as always). The insights, hopes, and struggles are profound, real and visceral.  

The settings are each in their own way sparse, desolate, spiritual, and spectacular - the Mojave Desert,  Mendocino and Humboldt Counties and The Lost Coast in Northern California, Death Valley, Reno, Las Vegas. Each is “off the grid” in its own way, inhabited by spirits, waifs, seekers, and healers, some close to the end of their line.

I first “met” Ms. Vaye Watkins through hearing about her work with “The Mojave School” which teaches creative writing to youth in Nevada. I do similar work and was and continue to be inspired by her commitment. I then read “Gold Fame Citrus” and still see it as the best depiction of the dystopia to which we are headed through our continued denial of climate change.  

I concurrently learned more about Ms. Vaye Watkins’ background and life. I am quite familiar with the experiences that have shaped her. I understand how brave and eloquent she is to share them with us through her work. “I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness” is sage, wise, and prescriptive, simply a wonderful piece of work.. 

Thank you to Riverhead and NetGalley for the eARC.
Was this review helpful?
Thrilling, dark, and infuriating. I loved it! Such a unique book that I can’t wait to recommend to friends and patrons.
Was this review helpful?
Being 37 is kinda the pits, huh. The Oregon Trail Generation is a falsehood. I know there is that meme about how Prince and The Oregon Trail computer game were created at the same time at the same middle school but like, have you read the Sinead O'Connor story about Prince made her pillow fight and his pillow had a rock in it and then she ran away down his driveway and he was driving up behind her shouting? So who knows really whose stories are gonna get gilded.
Was this review helpful?