FALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FAST

Dear Ella and Suse
I fall in love too easily and too fast. I have great male and female friends, but I worry I define myself too much by the male gaze. This, despite being rumoured to be the 'token outspoken feminist' at my college at
university. I'm also, I think, only now beginning to process being raped just over a year ago. Anything to help cure this nil to lightspeed lovesickness thing, and anything to help me deal with the sexual assault? Also - I study English and therefore already have a list of things to read that is probably taller than I am, so shorter things would be great. Thanks!
The Girl Who Falls In Love In About The Time It Takes To Physically Fall
Over i.e. 3 seconds (more realistically, a day or two)
Dear Girl Who Falls in Love Too Fast,

Wow! It sounds to us as if you need to take the literary equivalent of a bucket of cold water to calm you down whenever you meet a new man - a dose of healthy skepticism. Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle provides exactly the right tone of voice for your ailment - the heroine, Cassandra, is wise beyond her years, at 17. She and her sister Rose are both desperate to meet a man to whisk them out of their picturesque poverty and take them into a land of romance and clean linen. They reside in a crumbling castle, with their genius father, who everyone is hoping will suddenly turn out another masterpiece, but as it has been 12 years since he wrote his last, it's not looking like this will happen in a hurry. Cassandra looks on the American brothers who turn up in a stately home nearby with the gaze of one who knows what she needs, but also realises that she is not willing to compromise herself in order to get it - unlike her sister. Even if you have read this before, this is a wonderful book to re-read, and we are sure that after a few hours in the company of Cassandra, you will be able to look at men from a far more reserved angle, and be able to hold back those love hormones until your man has proved his worth.

Having had a sexual assault is a serious matter, and we hope that you are seeking professional therapeutic advice for this. However, there are some excellent novels that can help too. Room by Emma Donoghue describes the imprisonment of a woman who is locked in a shed for seven years, and gives birth to a child fathered by her abductor. The brilliant thing about the book is that it is told in the child's words, from his point of view, and none of the abuse is actually shown in the book. The mother and child's incredible spirit and bond, despite their terrible circumstances, are extremely heartening and inspiring in the way that they persevere and survive against extreme odds. Maya Angelou's "I know why the caged bird sings', a literary memoir, will also provide great comfort and inspiration, as you will see how Angelou overcame the brutality of her childhood. 
Finally, we suggest that you read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, which will put you back in touch with your own powers as a woman, both in relation to men, and in your own right.
Yours,
Ella and Suse
We prescribe - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

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A SLUG WITH VISIONS OF HUMANITYABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARSADULT ACNEAFRAID OF FAILUREALCOHOLIC DAUGHTERALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEAAlways wanted to be a writerANOREXICANXIOUS ABOUT SINGLE FRIENDAT A FORK IN THE ROADAVID READER, LACKING BOOKBEREFT OF A CATBORED IN ALABAMABOTHERED AND BEWILDEREDBRAIN SHRINKING MOMMABROKENBROKEN HEARTBROKEN HEARTED - TORN BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE BEST FRIENDSBROKEN UP WITH GIRLFRIEND; FEELING BURNT OUTCAN’T MOVE ONCANDIDA REVOLTAIRECan’t afford to go on holidayCAST ASIDECHEATEDCHRONIC PAINCOLD HANDS AND FEETCONCERNED ABOUT DAUGHTERCONFLICTED PARTNERSCRAVING FOOD CULTURECYNICAL STEPSONDAILY ABUSEDARK NIGHT OF THE SOULDEPRESSED AND UNABLE TO READDEPRESSED DURING CHRISTMAS, AND LONELY NOWDESPERATELY WANTON GIRLDIRECTIONLESSEASILY BORED WITH NOVELSEMOTIONALLY SABOTAGED BY MY MOTHEREMOTIONS IN EXTREMEEVER THE FRIEND AND NOT THE PARTNEREXTREME ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONFADING AWAYFALLEN OUT WITH MY FRIENDSFALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FASTFAZED AND CONFLICTEDFEAR OF CONFRONTATIONFEAR OF GETTING OLDFERTILITY PROBLEMSFOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTUREFRIEND WHO HAS LOST A CHILD LATE IN PREGNANCYFRIENDS DAUGHTER LOST TO SUICIDEFrightened of lifeGAPING HOLEGetting over a break-upGIRL OF UNCERTAINTY, BOUND BY RULESGIRL WHO DOESN’T FIT INGRIPPED BY LOSSGUILTY FRIENDHOPELESSNESSHOUSE AND LIBRARY DESTROYED BY FIREI love music more than booksI no longer commute – and therefore I no longer readI PEEK AT THE END OF NOVELS BECAUSE I WORRY THE CHARACTER MIGHT NOT MAKE ITI wish I were famousIN MOURNING OVER LITERARY DEATHSINABILITY TO SIT STILL AND ANXIETYINCONSISTENT AND NON-STUDIOUS- BUT AMBITIOUS NONETHELESSINDECISIVEINSECUREINTERESTED IN EVERYTHING BUT ACHIEVING NOTHINGINVISIBLE WOMANITALIAN NOVEL CURESJILTED AND UNSUREJOB IN LIBRARY UNDER THREATKICKED IN THE HEADLEADENLIVING ON THE MARGINSLONE RANGERLONELY AND DEJECTEDLONELY IN LOVELONELY IN MONOTONOUS JOB, LOSING SANITYLOOKING FOR A SENSE OF PURPOSELOOKING FORWARDSLOSS OF A SISTERLOSTLOW WATTAGELOW-ENERGY PESSIMISMMAD SCIENTISTMARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMENMISSED THE BOATMISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAWMUM GOING BACK TO WORKNEED TO LET GONEW CITY, NEW LIFE -BOOKS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY?NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORNIGHTMARISH COLLEAGUENOMADIC FLANEURPOST NATAL DEPRESSIONPREGNANT AND ALONE