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The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

"There’s something about death that makes people want to live. We wanted to live that day, and I don’t blame us for it. Not anymore."
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo 

You guys - unpopular opinion time.

I have been known to cry over books. Books with sad endings, books with infuriating endings, books with very happy endings. I get emotional. It's weird, I know. So I thoroughly expected to be wrecked by this book - all of the reviews said so, even Reese Witherspoon said so! 

Here's the thing about this book - I think if I had gone into it with different expectations maybe I would have different thoughts on it. Jill Santopolo sets out to write an epic love story about a first love that spans over a decade. And at times she does an outstanding job, but ultimately I found this novel to be predictable, trite and at times clichéd. I expected to have my heart ripped out - this story could after all - only end one way. But what I didn't expect was to feel so underwhelmed by the narrative and ending of this book.

The concept of this book is nothing new - a look into the past, wondering what could have been if timing had been different. What if the decisions that had been made had lead down different paths? It's a familiar concept that people like - I personally, don't mind ill fated romances as long as the story has the right sort of emotional quality. I just feel that there are other books that have done it better.

The writing isn't bad, it's fine, but I think that this novel would have been more effective if it had been narrated a little differently. The book is narrated entirely by Lucy in past tense. She's recalling memories, as if she's telling a story to someone. Unfortunately this mechanism is a dead give away to any adept reader about the condition of the person she's narrating to which made this very predictable. I know of other stories that are like this, Nicholas Sparks' The Choice or even The Best of Me. There were times I even thought of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, which I know is entirely different, but has similar themes of waiting on someone who isn't there. The difference between this novel and those being that the latter packed an emotional punch (as Sparks is apt to do) that this novel was missing. I believe that's mostly due to lack of shock factor and had the author taken a different stylistic approach the outcome may have been different. Overall the end of this novel left me feeling - meh.

I really wanted to like this more, but I believe that this novel was over-hyped and for readers who enjoy this type of book - there are other stories out there more worth the time.

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