Verdict: WHEN LOVE SPEAKS is a tender, graceful, and lovely paean to the beauty and worth of real love.
A conversation with a personified Love about the emotion, its origins, its functions, and how to properly experience it.
Dr. Khalid, having had struggles and questions about love throughout her life, found that the poetry of the great Sufi mystic Rumi enabled her to come to a greater understanding of love and its purposes. In this book, she personifies Love, and interviews it, attempting to communicate to the reader where love comes from, how to love oneself and other people without fear or jealousy, and how to grow towards love and away from fear.
WHEN LOVE SPEAKS is, at its best, almost a prose poem, rich and sensual. Some of the language is lyrical, beautifully-written, and evocative. Love is “a painting of perfection steeped in thought,” for example. The counsel she offers can be wise and worthy of meditation and thought, as with “it is the love in you that makes you full of joy, not the love that is given to you.” The concept of the book is intriguing, as it allows the author to straightforwardly address questions and beliefs about love in a direct and responsive manner.
However, the book might have been better off as a poem or series of poems than in its current form – the prose style combined with the poetic phrasing sometimes leaves the author a bit tangled in her own words. For example, “You can experience love through other mediums and subjects and you can still see what happened as an ego and form, delusions that you are strong enough to separate you.” A more thorough edit might also help smooth out the text. Occasionally, too, the author contradicts herself in places, as when she defines romantic love in one place as “but one form of love expressions [sic] in this world” and in another says that romantic love “is not love at all.” Her interpretation of pre-agricultural human culture as a utopia of sharing and cooperation, with no lack of food or resources, is rather over-idealized, and her assertion that birds “don’t compete, they cooperate” can be disproven by simply putting two roosters or two peacocks in the same enclosure and watching the feathers fly. Additionally, besides some edits to smooth out the prose and restraint on some of the author’s less substantiated assertions; the use of “OMG!” as an exclamation on the interviewer’s part at one point gives a rather juvenile feeling to that particular section of the text, something not warranted by the seriousness of the topic.
WHEN LOVE SPEAKS is a tender, graceful, and lovely paean to the beauty and worth of real love.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader