The Light We Lost
By: Jill Santopolo
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?
Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.
Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.
I first heard of this book after my friend pointed it out in Reese Witherspoon’s book club and how she wanted to read it. So I picked it up for her as a Christmas gift but also ended up getting a copy myself as I was pretty interested by the premise.
So, I actually didn’t know what to think about this book for almost the entirety of it. It wasn’t a sort of butterflies-in-your-stomach, sweeping romance in a way that it was publicised (gosh, I really need to stop falling for that!). Rather, it was a sobering meditation on the kinds of love and romances there are, of what is really love, what or who constitutes “the right one”, how do these relationships function with the other parts of our lives, our dreams. Gabe was clearly someone who never left her mind and her heart despite of his choices, despite of the way their lives turned out, but for obvious reasons there was no way their relationship would’ve worked out in practical terms had he stayed. Darren in many ways is the opposite of Gabe but he loved Lucy, was more stable and dependable, was thinking long-term with their relationship whereas with Gabe the future was always a question mark. All the characters, including Lucy, had their flaws and their faults, and I never hated Darren’s character; I can see how the writing tried to set him up as the bad guy with the way he always made decisions a bit ahead of Lucy rather than with Lucy but Gabe’s flip-flopping was infuriating at times. Like omg, either stay or move on, Lucy has her own life to lead too. And of course Lucy sometimes not thining and just falling for Gabe’s gravity can be a little frustrating at times too…
I wasn’t too fond of the writing, and parts of the book came across as unbelieveable. I guess at the end of the day it’s all about the characters as opposed to the details but details of their illustrious careers were unrealistic; they were in university in 2001 and rose quickly to become a famed war photographer and television producer respectively with no pitfalls to their rise? The financial crisis didn’t affect them at all? Lucky them. Also, I figured out the ending at the very beginning. Oops.
Overall The Light We Lost was a fairly quick read for me that raised questions about love, the nature of love and relationships, but otherwise I wasn’t wholly blown away by it. At least I wasn’t infuriated by it compared to Me Before You?