I hope time has found you well, and that you’ve been able to sink yourself into something deliciously enthralling.
Now as most of you know, last week I took a little walk on the dark side by reading Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. While that little trek was fun and fantastically crazy, I decided that my next book unearthed from The Never Ending Book Basket should be something a tad bit little lighter.
(Or at least something with a little less body dismemberment.)
Despite my quest to find something lighter to read, I found myself in the throes of a story that can be described as anything but light. Sure there weren’t murders and mystery weaving their way through the book, but I surprisingly still found myself reading a story full of anguish and despair.
(Luckily this book wasn’t all doom and gloom because it was full of some seriously sweet moments !)
So while I may have come up a tad short on my desire to find something a little lighter, I did find a lovely little book that is described as being “not your average love story.”
Today at The Never Ending Book Basket I tackle that not so average love story by reviewing Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Forever Interrupted tells the story of Elsie Porter, a young woman who finds herself head over heels in love for Ben Ross. (And we’re talking “Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, cant-live-without-each-other love.” Yay for you if you know where that quote is from!)
After a romance that seems as long as a blink of an eye, the two have eloped and find themselves blissfully happy. Then just 9 days after eloping, Ben is killed on impact in a car accident, and Elsie is thrust onto the path of mourning the loss of her husband. She’s also dealing with the fact that she’s just now meeting her mother in law who didn’t even know she existed. (And that is just the first 15 pages.)
Forever Interrupted is told in alternating timelines that start with an ending and a beginning. These timelines trace Elsie and Ben’s, as well as Elsie and Susan’s relationships as they develop over the course of the story.
- The ending timeline starts from the moment when Ben’s life ends, and follows Elsie as she mourns her late husband, and begins her very complicated and raw relationship with her new mother in law Susan.
- The beginning timeline begins at the very start of Elsie and Ben’s relationship, and follows them from their very first meeting until the very end of their short, but extremely passionate love affair.
Through these alternating timelines and stories you see how Elsie and Ben came to be, and you fall in love with how they fell in love. (It will seriously make you want to melt into a puddle of emotion.) You also get to see the tumultuous ride that Elsie begins after she has to bury the love she thought would be with her forever. Elsie’s journey throughout this book is truly what moves and makes this book, and the feelings she has rightfully set the pace and tone for this book.
What I simply loved in this book:
- The alternating timelines. This honestly made the book for me. I loved seeing Elsie and Ben at the beginning and end of their love affair. It made their love story come alive to see these timelines interwoven together so beautifully, and it honestly made me love this story so much more. This set up also created the absolute perfect balance between the happiness and sadness throughout the book.
- Ben’s death. Clearly since Ben’s fate is determined 10 pages in, I knew what was coming, but it made it all the more real seeing the emotion build to and from this defining event. In the present tense you got to see the aftershocks of such a horrific event. In the past building up to the present you literally get to feel every emotion that made you fall in love with Ben. Having these feelings “backwards” made me feel for Ben and those affected by his death so much more because I already knew the fate that laid ahead.
- Elsie’s pain and anguish. So I told you this book had a lot of despair and anguish, and I am not exaggerating on that. You are literally thrown head first into Elsie’s pain, and its sink or swim time. (At times I think you can literally touch the pain that Elsie is feeling. It’s just tangible.) The author does a fantastic job of making you absorb this pain and anguish, and as much as you may not like that, it makes the feelings in this book very, very real.
- Elsie and Susan’s relationship. In addition to Elsie and Ben’s relationship, you also get to see the ebbs and flows of Elsie and her mother in law Susan’s relationship. This one takes a little more time to develop into something substantial, but when you get there, it’s just grand. (And messy, and complicated, and funny, and painful, and just so fucking real. But in the end it’ll just blow your socks off.)
- The multiple kinds of love. This book is full of different kinds of love and relationships, and I really enjoyed getting to read every single one of them. You get to see the love between couples, parents and their children, friends, and even strangers. Love is in the air in this book, which makes you feel just a tad bit tingly inside.
- The complicatedness. Life and people are complicated. They are messy, complex, and difficult, but that is just the way it is. Forever Interrupted does a spectacular job of showing this complicatedness in many dynamic ways. It also just adds a grounding aspect to the book that makes you realize that these “complications” are what makes life what it is.
Forever Interrupted is described as being “not your average love story”, and that sentiment rings very true. While it is overflowing with love, (and does have a wonderful love story within its pages) it is a book about beginnings and endings. (I couldn’t help but link to that song there.) It shows a couple at their beginning and their end, and everything in between is full of magic, pain, anguish, laughter, and of course, love.
It was also extremely easy to relate to the characters even though I’ve never been in any of their shoes. I found it really simple to love and accept all the characters for all their quirks and faults, because it made them who they are, and they accepted that. (And in turn I accepted them. How cyclical!)
In the end, Forever Interrupted is still a story about love. Reading this book you get to watch that love as it begins, grows, breathes, ends, continues, and weaves its way through. That love is definitely something you’ll want to see for yourself.
To end this post I leave you with the epitaph for this book. It was originally posted on Craigslist, and it honestly does a phenomenal job of summing up the mountain of feelings in Forever Interrupted:
“Every morning when I wake up I forget for a fraction of a second that you are gone and I reach for you. All I ever find is the cold side of the bed. My eyes settle on the picture of us in Paris, on the bedside table, and I am overjoyed that even though the time was brief I loved you and you loved me.”
(I may or may not have just started crying typing that. You can take a guess on that one…)
To learn more about Taylor Jenkins Reid check out the following links: