Love Me Back never flinches,
and woe to the reader who comes to this book with the expectation of healing, redemption, a heartwarming tale of human resilience or any of the other fatuous dreck that all too often passes for 'literary fiction' these days. You won't find so much as a sentimental comma in this staggeringly fine debut novel, and that's part of the thrill and terror of reading it. Merritt Tierce goes headfirst into the stuff of life as it's actually lived, with all its messy contortions and life-changing catastrophes, its schizophrenically mixed motives, its demolition derbies of sex and love and our endless yearning for that sweet spot in between. Tierce roams like an avenging angel across the landscape of 21st-century American decadence, and the truths she writes achieve a state of near-sacred subversion.
Tierce's prose possesses the force, bluntness and surprise of a sucker punch. Love Me Back is an unflinching and galvanic novel full of heart and heartache; one of my favorite books of the last few years.
Merritt Tierce's debut novel, Love Me Back, is a gorgeous, dirty razor of prose—sharp and dangerous and breathtaking. This is a defiant story about a young woman choosing the life and motherhood that is best for her, without apology. At times, Love Me Back puts Marie into such vulnerable, honest, reckless places you want to cringe, but the fierce strength of Tierce's writing and the electric wonder of Marie's character will not allow you to look away.
Merritt Tierce must have some kind of magic. She has written a book that, on the surface, is about a waitress moving from job to job, but it is so ferocious, so powerful, so fearlessly told, that by the end I felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me. Even now I have the urge to walk down the street and give a copy to everyone I pass, pressing it into their hands, telling them, "Read this. Read it now." Love Me Back is that brilliant and that necessary.
Love Me Back is breathtaking, addictive, sexy, raw and honest. I found myself gasping at the beauty and sadness of this tale of a bright, damaged young woman trapped in a service industry life—I felt her bruises right through the page. Merritt Tierce has written my favorite debut of the year.
Assembled of sentences unflinching, flirtatious, both raw and surgically precise, Love Me Back is absolutely enthralling from first word to last. A lurid and devastating diorama of womanhood within the so-called service industry, it's also one of the most vital books about our invisible underclass I've read in years. Merritt Tierce is here to stay.
Claire Vaye Watkins
Marie, the young, self-destructive woman in Merritt Tierce's sad and dirty and beautifully written novel, Love Me Back, is one of the most memorable characters I've ever come across in fiction. Merritt Tierce is a hell of a writer. Believe me, after reading this book, you will never look at your waitress in quite the same way again.
Donald Ray Pollock