The Light We Lost
|February 26, 2018||Posted by admin under Fiction, Romance, Women|
Written by Jill Santopolo
Published by Penguin Random House Canada
Reviewed by Christine Gordon Manley
Publication date: May 2017
Reviewed posted on: February 26, 2018
Santopolo’s The Light We Lost kept me company the past couple of weeks. I took the book with me running errands, in case I had a few precious extra seconds in between appointments. I’d read a chapter with my morning coffee, after the children were ushered off to school. And I’d sneak a few pages in, after homework, before supper, and generally anywhere in between.
So I got to know Lucy (the main character) quite well. And, now, I miss her.
This book is more than a contemporary romance. It’s about the choices we make and how these choices affect the rest of our lives. The weighing of what could have been with what is, realizing that the what could have been is often glorified over the mundane day-to-day routine.
Lucy meets Gabe on September 11, 2001, as they leave a university lecture together to watch the news of the day unfold. The absolute horror of the tragedy creates a bond between them—one that lasts for over ten years. The young couple isn’t actually romantically together for all that long, comparatively speaking, but neither can let the other go, and they stay in touch, via email, phone conversations, and the occasional face-to-face coffee throughout the decade-long reflection in which Lucy writes.
While their paths take different turns—Lucy pursues a career in children’s television programming and marries another man, becoming a wife and mother; Gabe heads to the middle east to photograph war-torn areas—the two remain connected, admitting at times that their current relationships do not live up to the “Lucy and Gabe” star-struck romance of yesteryear.
But are they just idealizing what they once had? For, if their professional lives hadn’t torn them apart, where would they be now? And how do they continue to go on, respecting the choices they’ve made and honouring the lives that they now live?
These are questions Lucy explores in this first-person narrative, in which she recounts over ten years of history between herself and Gabe, from the day they met to the day where she is forced to make the ultimate choice. While the narrative is written in letter format, with Lucy talking to Gabe, the reader often forgets about this as they’re drawn right into the story.
While I didn’t always agree with every choice Lucy makes, I still bonded with this woman. Life is full of choices, and they aren’t always straight-forward or easy. It’s how we continue on, accepting these choices or not, that define our character.
The Light We Lost is special. More than just an enjoyable read (which it was, no doubt). I really do feel as if I made a couple of dear friends reading this book. And now they’re gone, and I find myself mourning their absence.
Santopolo is a talented writer and a captivating storyteller, and I look forward to exploring more of her works.
For more information about this book, visit the publisher’s website here.