Reading Diary: Love in the Time of Climate Change by Brian Adams

A bit unusually for me, I'm reviewing a novel as part of my Reading Diary series. Usually the closest I'll get to a novel is a fictionalized science graphic novel of some sort, kind of like the Survive! series or Lauren Ispsum.

But no, this ain't one of those. It's a good old fashioned novel.

OK, it's a climate change fiction novel that's kind of like an Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell romantic comedy but starring Seth Rogan and Jennifer Lawrence. Set on a community college campus, it has a bit of a feel of The Absent-Minded Professor or even The Nutty Professor for the cli-fi set.

So what have we got? Basically, our hero Casey, is a professor at a small community college and not only is he obsessed with The Issue to the point where he calls his affliction OCD for Obsessive Climate Disorder, but he's also socially awkward, nerdy, immature and extremely lovelorn. And a pothead.

The novel is about his adventures during the fall 2012 term during which he is teaching a climate change course as well as getting more than slightly obsessed with a breathtakingly beautify school teacher named Samantha who is taking his class for professional development credits.

We get to learn about the dangers of climate change and the folly of the political/denialist set through Casey's classroom activities and through his advising of the campus anti-climate change club. These parts are very effective as we see issues such as fossil fuel divestment campaigns not just through a theoretical lens but also through the eyes of people learning about the issues and trying to make things better.

Casey's obsession with his student Samantha is a bit jarring at times, in a way that a post-adolescent frat boy crush is a bit embarrassing in a grown man. And it's never completely clear to me what she sees in him. Beautiful woman falls for goofy yet charming loser because of the power of his obsessions seems more like a teen-aged fantasy scenario rather than a fully-realized adult story. At times Samantha seems more like a prop than anything, a way for Casey to establish his "good guy" credibility by the constant obsessing over how he can't approach her while she's still a student. No surprising spoiler here, but it all turns out OK in the end for Casey and Samantha.

All that being said, the Casey/Samantha relationship isn't a deal-breaker for me. It did provide some nice comic relief what with Casey's constant romantic pratfalls and it seemed less jarring as I got further into the book.

This is a charming little book, a bit silly but entertaining in its goofiness. A recommended light read that many public libraries might find useful to add to their collections and even perhaps some academic libraries with leisure reading collections.

Adams, Brian. Love in the Time of Climate Change. : Green Writers Press, 2014. ISBN-13: 978-0996087209

(Review copy provided by author.)

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