Get a Life, Chloe Brown a novel by Talia Hibbert
Reviewed by Zanele Mukhari
Once upon a time, Chloe Brown died. Nearly.
That is the opening line to this unputdownable rom-com and if that does not entice you to keep reading, I do not know what will.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown takes place in Nottinghamshire where we are introduced to a 31 year old IT website designer, Chloe Brown. Our protagonist is a snarky, smart and a hilarious beautiful plus sized black woman who escapes a near death experience and realizes that the life she has been living is mundane, so she decides to compile a Get a Life list. The list includes:
1. Enjoy a drunken night out
2. Ride a motorbike
3. Go camping
4. Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex…etc
Now to the average young adult Chloe’s list might seem banal and uninspired but to someone who lives their life in isolation because of an illness, this list is exactly what she needs to get a life.
After her brush with death, Chloe decides to move out of her family home in their upper echelon neighborhood into a block of flats in the south of Nottinghamshire and this is when the story really takes off.
Chloe has Fibromyalgia, a disability where she suffers from chronic pain. When she first got sick not many people believed her and as a result, she lost her fiancé and all her friends. Living with this invisible disability and the fear of being abandoned, Chloe comes across as standoffish and rude.
Author Talia Hibbert manages to incorporate a broad spectrum of themes in this novel, from mental health issues and redefining ones identity, to abuse and obviously love and she does this in such a delicate manner. Get a Life, Chloe Brown is not your typical rom-com novel and the enemies to lovers narrative is one that I doubt has been told before.
When we are first introduced to Redford Morgan aka Red (and yes, he’s a ginger), we are introduced to a seemingly confident, sexy artist who has his life together but the further the story goes the more we uncover his abusive past.
The first time our main characters meet, they cannot stand each other but when Red helps Chloe off a tree the course of their relationship changes. Hibbert uses humor and warmth to showcase how two people try to navigate their past experiences and traumas, while dealing with mental and physical health. The novel depicts how the protagonists want to take care of each other and fix what past experiences left broken.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown was such a pleasure to read and I appreciate the trigger warning: healing after an abusive relationship that Hibbert included at the beginning of the book.