What you don’t want from a book about relationships is the same old same-old. Something that promises to be a new take on love something but then just retreads familiar ground. Instead what’s needed is fresh perspective, and that’s exactly what you get from The Three Rooms In Valerie’s Head, a superbly dark and humorous exploration of failed romances.
Valerie hasn’t had much luck with her menfolk so she deals with this by imagining all her ex-boyfriends have died and are in her cellar where they exist in a semi-preserved state as a trad jazz band. She deals with the breakdown of each relationship by liberating them from their place of rest and bringing them upstairs to go over the nature of the failure. Uniquely therapeutic.
As we get to learn something about these past boyfriends we also get to learn a lot about Valerie as she strives to find happiness amongst the loneliness, and like all well told tales, see a little of ourselves during the telling.
I’ve read some mixed reviews for this books, some people loving it, some not really getting to grips with it all. Personally I think it’s a wonderfully executed piece combining fine writing with some perfectly suited art, combining to make a book that is witty, reflective and melancholy. In short, one of my favourite books of the year.
And if you liked that: Mister Wonderful by Daniel Clowes