Monday, October 15, 2012
Meghan Review: Love, in Theory by E.J. Levy
My favorite story within the collection was the final one, “Theory of Dramatic Action.” This piece tells the story of a graduate film student redefining love and boundaries after a life spent fearing commitment and pain. All of the film details within the text (things like rising character arcs and film angles) added to the mood, and certainly taught me a lot I’d never even considered about movie-making. Another element of this story that stood out to me was the use of second person point-of-view. It made the story very immediate and visceral, and allowed it to be read almost like a script itself, correlating with the sections labeled “Act 1” and “Act 2” within it, and sticking with the larger thread of film.
In addition to its film details, “Theory of Dramatic Action” problematized faithfulness and sexual orientation in a way I’d never imagined before, touching on elements like sadomasochism and affairs with authority figures. This entanglement of love and lust and fear is all described best in the text itself: “You wonder, idly, if the appeal of the love triangle can be traced back to the Trinity or if it is more archaic, more biological than that, if it has been there from the start, from the moment we entered the world: a mother, a father, a child.” Throughout the collection, Levy raises questions such as this—where did love come from? When did this need begin? And is what we theorize as love really love at all?
Recommended to: lovers, fighters, and people coming out of bad break-ups or diving into new romances, teenagers who doodle hearts in the margins.