Friday, September 21, 2012

The Myth of You and Me

Once a month, a local used bookstore has a "free book day." I went there last month on Free Book Day, hoping to find "The Girl Who Chased the Moon" by Sarah Addison Allen. It had been there two days before - but alas, it wasn't there on Free Book Day.

Thwarted, I wandered the aisles looking for another book. It had to be as good as I expected "The Girl Who Chased the Moon" would be. When I saw the cover of Leah Stewart's "The Myth of You and Me" I was drawn in.

I know. A book shouldn't be judged by its cover. But I did judge it and found it intriguing. I picked up the book and read the first chapter - it's a short one. I knew right then and there I had to know how the story ended.

I had a lot of trouble putting this book down - the story is well-told and the characters - though flawed - are genuine and likeable.

The story itself centers on the friendship of two women who met at age 14 - Cameron, who is new to Clovis, and Sonia, who's lived in Clovis all her life. From those first joyous moments of realizing that friendship has gelled to the first pangs of jealousy because it's threatened (by a boyfriend, by a new friend), it strikes a chord of belief as the story of this friendship unfolds to reveal how this type of love can be tenuous and fragile.

More than just a fluff story about friendship, it's about how secrets can hold people together and also tear them apart. It's about loving someone even when it's not easy to do so. It's about gain, loss, and redemption.

The story is so beautifully told, yet doesn't hold back. It shines a light on how our memories of a situation are not always truthful. There are times in the story when Cameron realizes a hard truth about something, but still rationalizes away her behavior - or someone else's. It's something we all do - and can relate to.

This is the first time I've read a novel by Leah Stewart - her writing is simply beautiful.

I just happened to read this during International Book Week, and of course, seemingly everyone on Facebook was posting the "Go to page 52 of the book you're reading..." meme.This book had no page 52 - well, it did, but it was blank. So I went to page 51, and followed the instructions of the meme - and found a perfect example of Leah Stewart's beautiful prose: "To belong nowhere is a blessing and a curse, like any other kind of freedom."

I would encourage all women to pick up this book. It speaks to the heart of women's friendships, of the twists and turns and roadblocks that exist in friendship - and in relationships of all kinds.

Like me, I think you'll find this is a book that was hard to close the cover on and say good-bye to. It's one of the few books I've read that will stay with me for a very long time to come.

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