book review: the light we lost

3/30

⏲ Read time: 3-5 minutes

It’s not very often I find a main character in a story that infuriates me beyond belief. Good job, Jill Santapolo because Lucy might have taken the cake as most despised character and if she didn’t, then Gabe absolutely does.

The Light We Lost begins on a day that stands out in most of our minds: September 11, 2001. Lucy and Gabe met at Columbia University and the two share an intimate kiss on the rooftop watching the Twin Towers collapse. The two drift apart but meet again in a bar, where the two quickly fall into “love”, becoming infatuated and engrossed with one another.

As Lucy envisions her future with the “love of her life”, thinking that everything is just peachy, Gabe decides to follow his intuition and abandon her for a photojournalist gig in the Middle East during the peak of the War of Terror. He doesn’t tell her, consult with her or even consider her wants and desires as a television producer for children’s shows.

Lucy is forced to pick up the pieces and move on with her life, where she eventually meets her future husband and father of her children, Darren. The two settle down, but Lucy can’t help but wonder what could have been with Gabe.

Cue Gabe reentering her life at inconvenient times, making her question the entire foundation her and Darren established. Something unfortunate brings Gabe and Lucy together again where Lucy is faced with an ultimate decision.

First off, it’s not to take anything away from Santapolo as an author. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, breezing through it in roughly a week. I loved her story writing and really liked how she illustrated a story.

However, the premise of this story made me sick. Sure, tragedy brings us together, but I don’t believe that should be a solidifying reason to keep going back to a toxic person time and time again. Gabe’s decision to leave for the Middle East was the most selfish thing someone could do; He didn’t give Lucy any insight, no argument, nothing.

He also expected her to be ‘okay’ with the decision. He makes reappearances in Lucy’s life, dropping in to say hi, as if he didn’t completely dishevel her and all she knew. If that’s not a toxic person, I’m not sure what is. Several times throughout the story, Gabe would contact Lucy if he were in trouble, knowing what he was doing. It was like he could have his freedom, do what he wanted, but expected her to wait around for him. It’s completely selfish and unattractive in a man.

But Lucy is just as moronic for allowing herself back in each time. She was thoroughly angry about what he did, yet she forgave him. She had a loving and stable relationship with Darren, a happy life, yet she was ungrateful because any time Gabe came crashing back in, she contemplated leaving it all behind. She was in a “happy” marriage, a mother of two healthy babies, and a successful businesswoman: she shouldn’t have needed the validation of an ex-boyfriend who left all that behind to follow his own endeavors.

There was one specific quote in the story that made me so angry while reading. Gabe was in town and had asked Lucy to join him for coffee. At this point, Lucy had been suspecting Darren of cheating, to which she thought “he was keeping secrets from me, I could keep secrets from him.”

This is beyond unjustifiable because two wrongs don’t make a right. Lucy was acting like a child and it was disturbing to think that a grown woman would think this thought process was okay.

I’ve been in those kind of “fire” relationships, ones that burn so bright and seems like it can engulf the world, but wildfire relationships, as described in the book, are the worst kind. They’re unpredictable, dangerous and can really burn you if you play with them for too long.

I think with this read, I’ve discovered that your typical mushy love stories infuriate me too much and that I should stay within my mystery thrillers.

Rating: 1 out of 5

About sarah

24. writer. obsessed with makeup, french bulldogs, nyr and sparkle.
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