This is first and foremost a delightfully delicious love story between two characters whose amiability just pops off the pages. It is also a fictional illustration of the ugly and everything-but-glamorous side of being a celebrity, the less flashy aspect of constantly being in the limelight and the horror of being an object of mass adoration and hysteria. It explores the concept of privacy, something that most of us take for granted in our everyday lives, and it shows us that not everything is quite as picture-perfect in Tinseltown. The main character could be any one of today’s current ‘heartthrobs’, any one of the well-known faces splashed across the covers of gossip magazines. This story is an epitome of how obsessed we have become with celebrities, how invested we have become in their private lives and affairs, and how questionable what we think we know about them really is. Ryan and Taryn’s love story shows us the effect of our obsession on their lives and it makes us question the true price of celebrityhood.
Ryan Christensen is a huge movie star, a fictional R-Patz of sorts, with a fan base to match. Everything he does is open to public scrutiny, he is followed wherever he goes, his every step photographed and twisted by the media, he is surrounded by adoring fans whenever he steps outside, everyone wanting a piece of him. But as much as he loves his job, Ryan hates his stardom. He hates not having any privacy and he hates the lies that are written about his personal life. But what he hates the most is not being to trust anyone new that comes into his life, never knowing whether they would eventually betray him and sell him out to the media. Ryan also suffers from panic attacks – his fans’ frenzied love declarations and complete disregard for his personal space literally terrorize him.
“Ryan Christensen was a drug that everyone seemed hopelessly addicted to.”
Taryn is exactly what Ryan has been looking for – someone who has never even seen any of his movies, a ‘non-fan’. They meet by accident and they immediately fall head over heels with each other. Taryn offers Ryan a safe haven to be who he really is, to let his guard down and to enjoy the simple things in life again, everything that he has been craving for ever since he became a movie star. But for Taryn being with Ryan means sacrificing her privacy and having her every move scrutinised by the media and Ryan’s adoring fans, not to mention being relentlessly stalked by the paparazzi. It is a huge price to pay in the name of love and one that makes Taryn uncertain about wanting to pursue a relationship with Ryan in the first place. His highly publicised past romantic escapades also add to Taryn’s general reservations about being in his life, feeding and amplifying her insecurities and fears of being cheated on or discarded for someone else again.
“We came from two different worlds that weren’t meant to exist together.”
Taryn is a compelling heroine. She is one of us, an ordinary woman with an ordinary job and with ‘normal’ friends in her life. She doesn’t fall in love with ‘Ryan Christensen the movie star’, she falls in love with the Ryan who plays poker with her friends and loves going fishing, with the Ryan who makes her feel adored and talks about her to his mum. But her struggle in this story is real and convincing. She hasn’t had much luck in love prior to meeting Ryan and she is afraid of loving again. Loving Ryan proves to be surprisingly easy for her and that scares her even more. This relationship would have been a challenging one for Taryn even had it not been with a celebrity, Ryan’s stardom only exacerbating her trust issues and making her doubt herself even more.
“He’s not just another guy who has the potential to rip your heart out and hand it to you while it’s still beating. He would be capable of much more damage than that.”
This book is Taryn’s story, a young woman coming to grips with a new life she never imagined having, and finding strength in the midst of unthinkable madness. She gives herself completely in their relationship but her journey to that point is one that she makes after carefully considering what she would be losing in the end. She is not impulsive or reckless in her decision to become part of Ryan’s life and this made me admire her even more. There were moments where her indecisiveness made me restless and slightly frustrated but I also felt that it set a pace for the book that ultimately made her journey even more believable. Taryn is independent, brave, selfless. She doesn’t want or need Ryan for his wealth or to take care of her, she only wants his heart and loyalty to her. She is a realist and a dreamer at the same time, she loves him with all her heart but she is forever aware that it takes a lot more than physical love to keep people together. Ryan “resurrects” her ability to hope in love’s possibilities.
“I didn’t need anyone to take care of me, but I did want someone to love me enough to try. … I didn’t want someone who would have to force himself to love me or for me to pretend that I loved him back. I had always hoped that love would be mutually instinctual and natural – as easy as breathing.”
Love Unscripted is a modern fairy tale, an epic love story between two ‘soul-mates’ caught in the sharp claws of celebrity machinery. It is a love-against-all-odds kind of romance but it is one that only inspires hope in the reader. This is a story about trusting your heart to take a chance on love and risking everything for the right person.
“If you never take chances, then of course you won’t get hurt. But that’s what life is all about … Living through the good and bad, and – with any luck – having battle scars that heal.”