Wow. A lot of people hated this book. The first page of the reviews alone is flooded with 1-stars. Like, whaaat? I feel have to defend this.*Commence*
Granted, I read this when I was 15 or so. My teenage self probably would've rated this 5.1 stars. I've probably read it 5 times in my life. One of my best friends fell in love with it like I did, and when she lost her copy of this book, I gave her mine because I love her that much, and I figured I would find another copy in Booksale anyway.(I did, but I had no wish to spend my money on it when the time came.)Actually, I lost the first copy I had and I was really bummed about that. I then commenced to hunt for another copy (Which is actually hard to find), which I eventually found, and it is this copy I gave to my friend. Nice little story doncha think? ;)
Anyway, my other friends liked it, too. Why
, you might ask?
I believe in soulmates. Though my definition of soulmates changes through the years, I believe Robert and Francesca were soulmates. Other people can't get past the fact that Francesca had an affair, when she was 40 no less. I'm not saying I condone infidelity. It's just I can place myself in Francesca's shoes. She's at a point in her life where she stops and thinks, How has my life come to this?
This wasn't what she wanted. I think of the dreams I have and imagine landing in life where Francesca landed. I would feel really frustrated.
Let me quote Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) on soulmates, which I think fits R and F perfectly:
People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
There's just something darn romantic about it. This book is barely 200 pages long, and yet it says so much. They spend 4 days
together, and they're certain of their love for one another.
In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.
Imagine having that kind of certainty. Imagine.
Okay, so it's insta-love. The kind where they're drawn to each other without any explanation. But there's something so darn convincing about it.
And it's so damn melancholic. Robert James Waller wants to make you sad. But it's a good sad. No b.s. What's life without a few good cries? Waller's writing reminds of the beauty of sadness.
I gave this 4 stars because it's been a long time since I read this book. I probably exhausted myself from rereading it so much, much like you could get tired of listening to a song you play a thousand times a day. Maybe that's why I couldn't buy the book when I saw it at Booksale. I wasn't ready to read it again. I only remembered this now, despite it being one of my teen faves. Sheesh.
And yet, reading the excerpts from this novella, I'm beginning to love it again. Maybe it's time to reread it and re-evaluate it. There are books I felt were destined for me to come across. Why do some books catch your eye, and others don't? The Bridges of Madison County
is one of those books, and it holds a special place in my heart.