Tuesday, January 2, 2018

REVIEW: The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur


I came to this novel a little backwards, I suppose? I've had this novel for a while and I've held it on to it as "my next read" and yet somehow I wasn't ready for it until now. I read Laqueur's The Venery series over Thanksgiving and fell in love with her characters and the emotional journey she took me on so I circled back to The Man I Love knowing, hoping, I'd feel those similar aching connections. 

This novel dug in just as deep for me, it just took me a little longer to fully connect. It required patience in my reading  when I though I wanted to be impatient. It was an unfurling, an unraveling--not a frenetic frenzied quick read. So as I settled into the story of Erik and Daisy and their motley crew of friends I once again felt that draw to crawl into the book and stay until I got to the ending. 

There were many points in this novel that felt familiar--almost like a memory of my own more than a plot in a novel. Maybe that's because I was graduating in 1992 and my own hazy memories and motley crew of friends and acquaintances seemed similar in ways--that bubble we created in college that was full of secret jokes and weird pairings and gossip and fun. Or maybe it was working through some of their grief and loss and thinking about my own. Whatever the connections, they were there and it just worked. 

And while the ending could be perfectly satisfactory as is, I'm glad to know that I still have more books to read. I have more answers to know and connections to make--because I have no doubt that I will--and I cannot think of a better way to avoid all the things I should be doing today.


"Like it or not, she made you the man you are. And you never got over her. You just left."

April 19, 1992: A man with a gun walks into a university theater, intent on stopping the show. Erik "Fish" Fiskare watches from the lighting booth as his life is instantly and irrevocably changed.

Spanning fifteen years, The Man I Love explores how a single act of violence reverberates through a circle of college friends. At the circle's center is Erik and his girlfriend, Marguerite "Daisy" Bianco. Her love, passion and pragmatic strength have always sustained Erik, but when she succumbs to post-traumatic stress, the young couple is torn apart.

Erik remains estranged from Daisy into his adulthood. He builds a satisfying life, yet he's haunted by the lingering bond of his soul mate. Soon Erik must face the past and answer the question: is leaving the end of loving?

Fearlessly touching on today's social and mental health issues, The Man I Love follows Erik's journey back to the truth of himself and a woman he can't forget. With its gripping story and an unforgettable cast of characters, this epic novel of love and forgiveness lingers long after the last page is turned.

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