G.P. Putnam’s Sons – Review: 3 Stars

All opinions are entirely my own, and all of my reviews can be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

I was pretty late to the party reading this one, but it was definitely worth the wait for me! While this wasn’t my favorite book that I read last month, I tore through this book in only a few days (which is very quick for me), and I am definitely glad that (through a buddy read) I finally got around to reading it.

Characters. I love character driven novels, everybody knows it. That being said, there weren’t any characters that I loved in this novel. While there were definitely times that I related to Lucy (I’ve made some iffy choices for relationships in my past. I am not proud), there were more times that I found it a little bit difficult to root for her. The book follows this woman through years and years of her life – and we see her falling in love multiple times throughout. And I do understand that there are loves that always stick with you, and there are people from your past that may always be a part of your life. But she took it to another level. We see Lucy get married, and the whole time she was still in love with Gabe. Not in a “I remember our time fondly” way, though. In a “it’s my wedding day and I’m having second thoughts about getting married because I got a call from Gabe and he still remembers me” way. I don’t know, it made for a very interesting story, but at the same time I had a hard time rooting for her while she was married to one man and carrying on a fully formed emotional affair with another.
That being said, I didn’t really like Gabe or her husband Darren, either. In their own ways they were also kind of terrible people. So it isn’t like I was rooting for anyone else instead. Except maybe her brother. I liked him.

One more thing I would like to mention is the writing style and the point of view/narration of the story. This story is all told from Lucy’s perspective, but as she would tell the story to someone. And more specifically, how she would tell Gabe her side of their story. It was a type of storytelling that I haven’t really read before, or at least not often. I feel like there are a ton of books where the narration is the main character telling their story to their children, or to some other third party character, but I found it really interesting having the audience be another key player in the story. So you get a lot of thoughts and questions from Lucy to Gabe as she tells him her side of this story (ex. “This is how I felt. Did you feel like that too?” or “I remember this, do you even remember this happening?”) which made the story feel really personal.

Last point, without going into any specifics or spoilers, I think I need to mention the ending. Yes, the ending destroyed me emotionally. My fiance says that I am “empathetic to a fault,” so if I am even remotely invested in the story and the characters then any sadness or disappointment that the characters feel, I feel. That being said, the ending is telegraphed throughout the entire book leading up to it. So I was rather expecting what happened in the end, and was almost waiting for it to happen while reading the whole last quarter of the book, if that makes sense. Like “I know that something along these lines is going to happen, but when?” and just waiting for that shoe to drop. And I say again, the ending still greatly affected me (tears were shed), so it didn’t ruin the ending for me. But I just wanted to make a note of it, because I know that there are some people who wouldn’t love knowing the ending from the start.

One last thing about the ending, I wish we could have gotten some sort of epilogue. That’s it, no big grand thoughts on this one. I just wish we could have known what choices Lucy made after the end that we got, and what the aftermath of those choices would have been.

Overall, I am glad that I finally went back and plucked this novel from my backlog, and I would recommend it to my friends. It probably wouldn’t be one that I would go back and reread a ton of times, and it certainly won’t have been my favorite book of the year. But if you are looking for complicated love triangles, and lots of emotions, then this could be the exact book that you are looking for.

2 thoughts on “The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

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