the reader in a quiet corner

hi, i'm ceecee. my reading interests can be described as eclectic.

i made this account just in case goodreads implodes, but will be eratically updating here.



If He Had Been with Me - Laura Nowlin It's almost 3AM and I am reeling from my reading experience. How to even begin?

Last I left the book I was more than halfway through. I thought I could definitely finish this "tomorrow", but I meant like tomorrow afternoon. Well it literally is "tomorrow" since it's the 13th of April. 3AM.

So since it's apparently hard to put down (it's really easy to read), why do I only want to rate this 2 stars? Well, 2.5 stars. 2 stars means it was okay. I had such good hopes for this. I actually felt like I could like this, and now I feel bad for not.

Like most books I've read, the final impression it leaves me determines my overall impression of the book. *Sigh* Now I must warn you that there may be spoilers ahead. Most likely. Obviously I can't write properly since it's 3AM and I'm running on adrenaline here, and a famous writer once said:

I believe that words uttered in passion contain a greater living truth than do those words which express thoughts rationally conceived. -Natsume Soseki,[b:Kokoro|762476|Kokoro|Sōseki Natsume||1977713]

So here goes nothing:

I really liked how this novel was realistic, and made you care about the story despite its simplicity. I may not have had the same experiences as Autumn had in highschool, but the novel rings true. Not everyone can be perfect, nor make the choices that an outsider [read: reader] would choose, nor do things that we all expect. Autumn and Finny, from the outset, you knew that they belonged together. You're reading it to know why and how they are not.

And then the book was an almost detailed account of their high school life. Autumn started dating this guy and Finn dates this girl in their freshman year. It wasn't like old times, and they seem to have grown apart. But you see, Autumn is such an unreliable narrator, even though she says Finn and her are no longer friends, you can read between the lines: that they have sexual tension, and Autumn is an idiot.

What I cannot like is how the story seemed so stagnant. A lot has happened, but not much essential to the story. I loved getting frustrated when I realize what Finny really felt in this scene and that, and I liked Autumn sometimes. Who doesn't often feel like they're dreams and reality can't coincide? So what if Autumn chooses to have a stable life with James instead of pursuing her love with Finn? We're all idiots. And I'm okay with that.

What I'm not okay with is how there didn't seem to be character development. Especially with that ending. Is this frigging City of Angels? The two protagonists spend one bloody day together after confessing and consummating their great love, and are separated forever the next day? Why would Laura Nowlin do this to me? And Autumn's reaction? She'll think Finny would forgive her for that? I never really took her seriously when she said Romeo and Juliet was romantic, because hell I liked Romeo and Juliet and sure it was romantic, but there's fiction and there's reality. So when Autumn decided to follow Finny into the dark, I think that was poor character development. What's more, she decides to do it again until she succeeds. *facepalm* Is it really nice to present in a novel that a girl is so devastated in love she wants to kill herself, because there's nothing else to live for? But oh wait, she's pregnant, and she thinks about aborting it, but the thought of Finny stops her. It would have been so nice if she had made a decision because that's what she stands up for, and not merely for the sake of a departed love.

*2.5 stars