This is Sarra Manning’s second adult novel after a succession of best-selling teen books. Perhaps the most autobiographical of her books, we follow the story of Neve, a bookish twenty-something, who has spent the last three years shedding over ten stone of weight.
Her driving force? The return of her one true love, William, who is currently in California teaching English Literature at a university. They were best friends at Oxford, and they exchange wordy airmail between the time before their reunion, each one making Neve’s heart skip a beat when she sees it waiting on the doormat.
But with her constant swooning over a man over 5,000 miles away, she’s forgotten the fact she’s never actually been in a relationship or had sex, as her sister Celia so helpfully points out. How can she be the perfect girlfriend for William, when she has no experience?
Cue Max, Celia’s editor at Skirt magazine, a charming womaniser who flirts his way into Neve’s life. Maybe he could make good practise?
We follow Neve as she continues to struggle with her body image as she looses weight, but fails to accept herself. Her long boring days at the literary archive with her B.O. immiting boss Mr Freemount and avoiding the wrath of her former bully and now sister-in-law Charlotte, who lives below her.
You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, is a heart-warming and addictive story of Neve’s personal struggles written with witty prose and issues that all women can relate to.
We’ve all looked in the mirror and not liked what’s staring back at us. Most of us have had issues with our weight. Sarra Manning herself, went through a long and arduous journey to lose weight, much like Neve. This story comes from the heart and Neve is an honest and relatable character.
If you like books with passion, honesty and humour, this book, as well as Sarra Manning’s other novels, is a must-read.