Book Review: Instructions for an Inexperienced Lover by Amanda Leduc

Instructions for an Inexperienced Lover by Amanda Leduc

This is a book that I got from the author herself. It sounded interesting, but in ebook version, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it (I don’t have an e-reader so have to read on my laptop). But the novel was shortlisted for the 2008 UK Daily Mail First Novel Award and the story sounded interesting so I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did!

The book is now actually also available in print (again).

Instructions for an Inexperienced Lover: What it is about

Rosa Delacroix is 22 years old and has left home for the first time to study writing at university. She lives in Victoria, Canada in a small apartment and feels grown-up and independent. But when it comes to it, she hasn’t experienced much in life at all. Especially not sex, not even with herself, it turns out. How can she be a writer without being able to fall back on all kinds of different personal experiences?

Her old teacher James, on whom she has had a crush for years and who, for some reason, keeps in contact with Rosa, thinks she shouldn’t lock herself up in her room to write. Instead she should meet people, have fun, do things.

Then she meets Aylish at her writing workshop. Aylish is Irish, has a live-in boyfriend, has travelled the world and seems to be the opposite of Rosa. Aylish tells her she has to find herself a boyfriend, or otherwise, seduce James.

But Rosa is a bit shy, and very religious. She goes to church every Sunday and would like to “save herself” for the right man.

In this beautifully written story, Rosa learn more about the world, about sex and men, but not quite in a way she might have expected.

Instructions for an Inexperienced Lover: What I thought

Don’t worry, the sex-thing isn’t overpowering. Hey, I’m a prude! (I could have walked straight out of P&P. I don’t even talk to men unless we’re introduced!).

I loved the writing style! I’m not surprised this book was shortlisted for a prize. The writing is very original, in my opinion. It starts of in the third person future tense. Yes, it does. At first I thought, ugh, will this work? But very soon I got used to it, and then, actually, it changed to present tense.

I first didn’t like it that Rosa wanted to become a writer – it seemed too easy, a writer writing a book about someone who wants to become a writer. But of course, this forced Rosa to search out experiences, so it made sense.

Rosa is a quiet person but rather overpowered by Aylish, which is just what she needs to get out of her shell. As I have had experiences (I think we all have) of friends making us do something we’re not sure about, this was very recognisable. Friends that help you overcome personal (and often imaginary) hurdles are the best friends!

I loved the way the story flows and how Rosa grows during the book, and the ending was a little vague, but interesting. Recomended to any modern literary fiction reader.

Rating: 4/5 stars

I got this book: as an e-book, for review from the author

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 288 (paperback)

First published: 2009

Genre: literary fiction, GBLT


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

11 Responses to Book Review: Instructions for an Inexperienced Lover by Amanda Leduc

  1. Cindy says:

    I’m also a bit of a prude, so would have avoided the book, but your review is enough to convince me; I’d read it if I came across it, but wouldn’t actively seek it out.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Cindy, ah, another prude! I don’t know if the book is available in the shops, but it should be!

      • Amanda says:

        Hi Judith!

        To answer your question — the book is not available in shops in the UK/Europe, though it can be ordered online through Amazon. I’m working on getting it in shops, believe you me! And it’s available for purchase in stores and online in the US and Canada.

        I hope that helps. Thank you so much, again, for such a lovely review. 🙂

      • Leeswammes says:

        Thanks for explaining, Amanda! And thanks for letting me review the book – I’m very glad I did.

  2. Nishita says:

    This does sound interesting, and I think I will like this one. I see you have classified it as GLBT, so I am guessing she DOES make some unexpected discoveries about herself along the way?

  3. Lena says:

    Sounds lovely, but I would’ve never purchased just based on the title. It sounds cheesy. But if the craft is good as you say, I would read it for sure.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Lena, I’m not sure about the title either, and I don’t think it suits the book that well. However, there *are* instructions (every chapter is an instruction on how to become more experienced). It’s just not that obvious as the title would suggest.

  4. Tes says:

    Though I am not a fan of this kind of book but I really enjoy reading your review 🙂 You write so lovely 🙂

  5. Pingback: Amanda Leduc: Author » Birthday gifts

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