No One Else Can Have You

No One Else Can Have You - Kathleen  Hale

You've probably read the reviews and heard the complaints. Clearly, No One Else Can Have You is a book that a lot of readers are talking about. Going into reading this, I was aware of how polarizing it was. I wondered which side I would fall on, if any, and how I would respond to the alleged offensive content and the tone of the book. I am happy, and a bit shocked to say, that for the most part, my response is good. 


Here's the thing. If you don't connect to Kippy, the protagonist, if you aren't feeling the tone of the book and the humor, I think you ARE going to be offended. But make no mistake. This book is definitely not politically correct. And though I'm stating that I did not have a problem with the content, there is some language here that I could have done with out. 


Examples? 3 instances of the R word. Things described as "so gay" twice. Yeah, a character even used the F word (that word we NEVER, EVER call gay people). I wasn't happy. The characters using these words were unlikable and supposed to be that way, but I still think the author could have made them plenty unlikable without using language that pisses off a large portion of the population. I also have to mention the scene where Kippy and Davey sneak into a support group masquerading as a couple dealing with domestic violence. I didn't like it and it kinda pissed me off. It's just not right to make light of domestic violence that way. It's not something to pretend or joke about. I imagine that if I was someone who had been abused by a significant other and I read this, I would be incredibly upset. And it just wasn't necessary in the larger scheme of the plot.


I told myself before I started this book that I was going to go into it with an open mind. That I was going to think for myself and form my own opinions. I wanted to read past the offensive content and analyze it for readers who might not be bothered by the previous paragraph. It is not my place to judge what people are/are not offended by, so that is what I did. And that's where we get into the good stuff.


I absolutely adored the characterizations. I thought they were brilliantly rendered. I loved Kippy. I thought she was ignorant and naive, but she was also precious and quirky. I loved her internalizations and I loved her voice. I loved her descriptions of small-town life in Wisconsin, and though this book was a caricature of what that was really like (and the humor really proves that as well), I still found it realistic and relatable. That's a really hard thing for a book to do. And aside from the offensive content, I really LOVED the writing too. The rest of the characters were well-developed and loaded with personality. From Kippy's dad (she calls him Dom) who is an eccentric high school counselor to their family friend across the street who is obsessed with video games and collecting random crap, I found the characters detailed and a lot of fun to read. 


This is a book loaded with humor (some of it very crude) and I found myself laughing out loud on various occasions. But this is why I say I get that this book is not for everyone. If you aren't relating to the tone as you go along (and honestly, I would say you will know this after the first ten pages), the book is probably not going to work for you. Some people found it forced and unfunny while I felt the complete opposite. I laughed a lot and I couldn't put this book down. There is a lot of talk of hunting and taxidermy and hitting animals with your car with humor related to that, and that's not something everyone is going to laugh about, and I get it. Maybe I was just in the right mood at the right time and I was ready to read this after waiting to be in the right frame of mind. It's a satire, a black comedy, but it also covers some very serious issues. Obviously I am only rating it three stars (it's more of a 3.5) and a lot of that is due to the content I had an issue with (I have to take off for that--personal ethics and all that), but aside from that, I totally adored this book. I do recommend it but I do think you should try a sample first if you can as it is not for everyone.


Reading is subjective. And that's the great thing about books. They can make us feel different things and reach us in various ways. This book happened to connect with me and hit on a lot of things I love. The humor was totally my thing. Kippy was someone I would have been friends with in high school. I was a misfit. Her behavior is out there and she's insecure, very real, and definitely not perfect. The characters were all flawed in believable ways. This book worked for me. And that's all I can say.