Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart

I can't figure out why I never picked up The Myth of You and Me before (it came out in 2005) as I genuinely enjoyed Stewart's latest novel Husband and Wife. But I'm so glad I finally decided to dive into this thought-provoking and engaging story. I can already imagine re-reading it in the future. The characters and the themes  have stuck with me for days.  In fact, after finishing the book, I immediately started scrolling back (oh how I prefer a real book to a Kindle!) to re-read parts of the beginning.  The book also inspired me to write a journal entry considering the different ways I could choose to narrate my own romantic life. The novel had me thinking deeply about friendship, love, story-telling, adolescence, forgiveness, the different types of love people seek as well as a variety of other topics.

The novel is narrated by Cameron, a twenty-nine year old woman who is adrift in life.  Cameron has been running away from connection for years, after a falling out with her closest friend. Cameron and Sonia met at fourteen and formed a tremendous bond. Together they grappled with a variety of challenges and eventually journeyed from their small hometown to college at Vanderbilt University. In the present, Cameron receives an unexpected letter from Sonia ten years after the incident that ended their friendship. Cameron doesn't initially reply but is eventually forced to track Sonia down after her boss assigns her a final task to deliver a package to Sonia.

I loved the deeper themes running throughout the novel. It made me think about what it means to truly be connected to someone, and what happens when we end a meaningful relationship. Can two people with a great deal of history reconnect after many years of estrangement? Are some relationships so defining that they live on even as the two people are out of contact? The Myth of You and Me made me consider the way I narrate the events in my own life, and to consider which relationships in my own life define me and tether me to former versions of myself.

The Myth of You and Me is also artfully told.  Some of the story is told in flashbacks and thus the story itself evolves in different directions.  I loved meeting Cameron and Sonia at fourteen, and being privy to the events that cemented their deep bond. I also loved reading about Cameron and Sonia's college years and it made me nostalgic for my own college years. It was fascinating to trace the trajectory of Sonia and Cameron and their supporting cast over fifteen years.  The characters were flawed and real and vibrant.

I highly recommend The Myth of You and Me and think it would be a great book for a book club.

No comments:

Post a Comment