... at once love story and annihilation tale ... reminds that we are all always proxies of ourselves, many places at once and also nowhere at all — hovering in the deadening buzz betwixt invisible infrastructures ... The luster of True Love lies in its ability to hold a tenor, a mood so much so that it becomes a character, living and breathing. Nina herself is not a particularly likable character: she lies, cheats, puts others through grotesque amounts of pain. As the reader, I feel chosen, as I’m invited into Nina’s most personal thoughts — the rationalizations behind the actions. She knows what she’s doing. But it’s easy to see the ugliest parts of oneself in Nina, and so it’s not hard to love her...She is most endearing when she tries to earnestly heal herself and in moments of deadpan humor, which the book has in droves ... She’s not a sympathetic character, but I can’t help but sympathize with her. She is entrancing, hypnotic via the sheer volume of her predicament ... That she watches herself get engulfed, knows intimately the nature and temperature of her engulfment, is what propels the book forward alongside the faux containers of contemporary life: cold technological pits, dumb plastic jars, phones filled with lies, partners, search engines, plastic aftertastes and heat.
... about as far from a standard rom-com as a book can get. It’s acerbically funny and sharply observant, but this tale of romance among millennials is more bleak than bubbly ... Gerard gives readers an unflinching look at the grim economics of being a struggling artist of any kind.
Gerard has an unusual way of depicting Nina’s romantic travails. Her prose is invariably muted, laconic, written with an acerbic deadpan that runs counter to Nina’s baroquely self-destructive behavior. Although Nina is the narrator of True Love, she spends very little time actively reflecting on her own misdeeds; the novel has a churning, forward momentum and Nina functions more as an impartial observer ... One of the book’s innovative features is how it depicts Nina’s text-message exchanges in a bold font, differentiated from the quoted dialogue. In any given scene, Nina’s consciousness is always triangulated, shifting between herself, her dialogue partner in the room, and a third party with whom she’s communicating via text message. This stylistic innovation brilliantly captures the way contemporary technology bifurcates our brains into different conversational tracks, one running in the real world and the other running virtually. When she’s texting or sexting, Nina’s desires are given free rein, often in hilarious contrast to the mundane reality she’s inhabiting at the moment...Yet True Love is at its most original and interesting where it diverges from Resnick’s analysis and begins exploring the trials and tribulations of America’s 'precariat' class ... Gerard captures the dynamic of a failing relationship with lacerating honesty—made all the worse by the challenges of working freelance in the dystopian era of late-stage capitalism ... a fascinating read for anyone looking to understand the world we’ll inhabit when the smoke of the Trump era clears—in particular, the world that’s being left to young people. It’s unclear, however, if True Love offers any hope. Maybe, the violent ending to Gerard’s novel suggests, it isn’t Nina who’s in the trance. Maybe it’s America.