Sunday, August 11, 2013

'Forever, Interrupted'

"Have you ever heard of supernovas?  They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy..."

Some book reviews are so easy to compose.  When I am come off reading a story that is so beautifully written, so well edited, it's everything I can do to keep myself from writing a review right then and there.  Instead, I sit and digest the story, remembering what passages affected me the most.

And then, along comes a book that affected me throughout the whole story.

"Forever, Interrupted" by Taylor Jenkins Reid is the story of Elsie and Ben, two single people who meet at a take-out pizza place on New Year's Day.  Their chemistry is immediate; so immediate, they fall in love, move in together, get married...and are separated by death, all in the space of five or six months.  One might think that 'love at first sight' does not exist, but it does (it has happened to me), and it's eloquently told in this heartbreaking story.

I'll admit it:  I cried just three pages into the story.  I cried when Elsie met her mother-in-law, Susan.  I cried when I read the various chapters pertaining to the courtship of Elsie and Ben because I knew what was coming.

But I didn't realize how deep the grief shared by both women would be.  And I almost thought that Elsie would never be able to swim to the surface and grab back her life.  

Ms. Reid has written a novel that is much more than mere 'Chick Lit'.  It is a story of grief, an emotion that almost all of us have encountered at some time or another.  It could be from the death of a family member, or a friend or coworker.  Even (and sometimes more heartbreaking) from the death of a beloved animal.  I could relate to the grief; every stage that Elsie encountered reverberated in my own life.  You might think that Ben is 'too good to be true', but he is a sincere, flawed man who finds true love and isn't afraid to go for it.

Being a huge book lover, I was pleased to find various mentions of books; Elsie is a librarian, Ben loved reading Young Adult books (not the sappy, 'real' ones.  He loved fantasy, but not the 'vampire' genre).  And near the end, when the story beautifully comes together, books are a huge catalyst for Elsie's new life.

This is a thoughtful story, and very well-written.  It's not light.  It has substance.

When I got to the end, when I read that last sentence, I cried anew.

And so will you.

So, now I must leave and go buy a new box of tissues.

Book Hog also suggests 'Goodbye for Now', by Laurie Frankel.  These two novels accompany 
each other very well.

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