Book review: Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberley Allsopp

Love and other Puzzles by Kimberley Allsopp opens with the protagonist Rory climbing out her inner west Sydney bedroom window in her pyjama’s to avoid the sounds of her house being packed up by removalists after her relationship with her boyfriend has broken down. The story then winds back a week to relay how it came to this.

Rory likes the safety of an ordered predictable life. She approaches her days with to-do lists and precise goals that can be met, like walking 12,000 steps each day and eating chia pods for breakfast each morning. She finds comfort in the regular bus driver on route 334 that she catches to The Connect newspaper where she works as a intern doing the TV-guide crossword and editing the classifieds to ensure they don’t contain offensive words.

A shoe basket signalled an organised life. A permanence and sense of order. The only thing I hadn’t consistently been able to get from my two homes growing up.’

Then Rory makes an uncharacteristic decision. To let The New York Times crossword puzzle dictate her decisions for a week to shake things up a bit. Needless to say this decision was life changing.

For every 24-hour period, I’m going to base my decisions on a maximum of three answers in The New York Times crossword. They won’t all be life changing. It could be about what to have for lunch. It could be about whether I go to a gallery opening that wasn’t already in my diary. It could be about whether or not I fudge the truth slightly, in order to be taken more seriously at work…

If you’re into chick lit you will enjoy Love and Other Puzzles. It’s a witty, entertaining, light read with plenty of pop culture and romcom references.

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