Forever Interrupted

Welcome back to book addiction central!

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!)

Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

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:

https://www.facebook.com/taylorjenkinsreidbooks (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/tjenkinsreid (Twitter)

http://www.taylorjenkinsreid.com/ (Website)

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Bloom

Happy New Year fellow book readers!

I hope you were all able to ring in the New Year in the best possible way!

How did I ring in the New Year you ask? Well I did what I love to do: I thought about everything I love and hold dear. In that thought process, my mind drifted off (as it often does) to the most recent book I was able to read.

This book stayed in my mind over the last few days of 2013, so I found it only fitting to bring its fantastic message into the New Year and to you!

I find that the book I most recently finished is the best possible choice for my first post of 2014, as it is all about finding beauty and happiness in unexpected situations. I am thinking that discovering more beauty and happiness is something we could all use a little more of in our lives.

Thus in my first official post of 2014 we will explore Bloom by Kelle Hampton.

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Bloom is a magnificent memoir that follows a mother’s journey from the day that she welcomes her second child into the world. On that day the mother is as excited as anyone would be at such an event. That day becomes something much more when her baby girl is born, and she learns that her new baby has Down syndrome.

Bloom begins as Hampton describes the day her beautiful baby girl Nella came into the world, and all of the events and emotions that surrounded her as her life changed before her very eyes. After pouring out all she felt and thought in those first few moments and days into a truly moving piece of writing, Hampton begins to discuss the first year of her new baby and family’s lives.

What ensues in this memoir is a poignant story about a mother’s love for her child and family, and what happens when the unexpected occurs and she finds herself on a path that she never knew she’d be on, but is one filled with true beauty, happiness, and love.

I have wanted to read Bloom for quite some time now. I first read of Hampton’s story almost two years ago, when I read her original blog post detailing her daughter’s birth. I came across the post on one of my favorite websites, Pinterest, and I was instantly taken in by Hampton’s words describing how her daughter came into this wondrous world. There was also one line that really stuck with me, one that I could not get out of my head, and one that I would emphasize when telling people about this amazing story I had read on the internet. (I promise to tell you that one later.)

Flash forward a little over a year later and I was in the book store (very shocking, I know) and I came across a gorgeous book cover that drew me in. Turning that book over and reading the summary on the back had me realizing that the very book I held in my hand, was the memoir of the woman who wrote that moving story I so long ago read.

Suffice to say that book made it to the top of my infamous to buy list. (I probably should have gotten it then, but at that current moment I was still in college selling children’s shoes to feed my caffeine and book addictions. And sadly, buying books then was something I unfortunately had to wait to do.)

Flash forward even more time, and I finally was able to find that striking book again, and I devoured it cover to cover in less than a day.

(My advice on this one: if you find a book you think you’re going to really love, buy it then. Don’t put it off, because the joy you find in reading a truly mesmerizing book like Bloom, is well worth sacrificing a week’s worth of coffee for.)

What I simply adored about this book:

  • Hampton’s poignant point of view. Kelle Hampton’s original blog post radiated all of her poignancy. That effervescent poignancy continues in her memoir as she pours everything into this book, and leaves nothing behind, which creates a book that is truly unforgettable. The way that she shares her and her family’s story truly comes from the heart, and will give you a glimpse into what it means to find true and heartfelt beauty in the unexpected. This story is hers to tell, and you won’t soon forget experiencing what she details in her memoir.
  • The pictures. This is truthfully the most visually appealing book I have ever read. There is a reason that this book’s cover drew me in. The photography taken and provided by Hampton documenting her and her family’s story is absolutely stunning. Pages and pages of this book are filled with these vibrant pictures that connect and magnify every emotion and event that Hampton describes. By the end of this book, you will have heartfelt appreciation for pictures and what they can truly show.
  • The joy and beauty that is tangible. While reading, I felt as if I could almost touch the joy, happiness, and beauty that Hampton describes throughout everything documented in her memoir. There are plenty of places in this memoir that Hampton conveys what her and her family’s journey was like, and it certainly isn’t always sunshine and roses. Though when Hampton describes many moments that were filled with joy and beauty, she does it with so much detail and feeling that you can almost touch it. She simply shows you what it truly means to find the beauty and joy.

Suffice to say, I truly enjoyed reading Bloom. The author presents her wholly authentic experience, as she welcomed the unexpected into her life. Her extraordinary memoir documents all of the ups and downs her and her family go through, but truly demonstrates what it means to love a child.

I have probably done a horribly inaccurate job of describing how wonderful this book is, but it is truly a book you will not soon forget. This is the author’s story. It’s her point of view, it’s her life, and it’s real, and as I’ve said before on here, I think we can all learn a lot from one another. I sure learned a lot from her.

As Hampton points out, we are all truly more alike than different, and beauty and joy are all around us, even in the unexpected.

I want to end this post with the words that stuck with me the most from Hampton’s original post, and her memoir. In both, Hampton describes how she knew the moment her daughter was born that she had Down syndrome, and then she continues to describe what happened from that point until her pediatrician came in.

Her pediatrician comes to her and tells her what she already knows, but before that she tells her the very most important thing: “The first thing I am going to tell you is that your daughter is beautiful and perfect.” (pg. 8, Bloom)

That is what I will always remember from reading Hampton’s story. Her daughter, and every other child/person/human being on this planet is beautiful and perfect, and that is the descriptor that matters and comes first every time. Throughout her writing, Hampton personifies that sentiment, and it is truly beautiful to read and experience.

I think we need to remember that as we begin this New Year. We are all different, and that makes us unique, but we are all human and we are all beautiful no matter what else might go into the equation.

Thus as we begin 2014 I encourage everyone, and especially myself, to find the beauty and to find the joy in all the expected and unexpectedness we will come across in this wondrous coming year and life.

 Bring on the beauty and joy of 2014!

ps. If you would like to learn more about Kelle Hampton and her amazing memoir you can find anything and everything here:

http://www.kellehampton.com/  (Blog)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Enjoying-the-Small-Things-Kelle-Hampton/160436387376707 (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/KelleHampton  (Twitter)