Saturday, June 30, 2018

I Have Lost My Way, by Gayle Forman

Freya, on the verge of becoming a major pop sensation, loses her voice.  Harun, planning to run away, has lost his true love.  And Nathaniel, spending every last penny he has to come to New York City, has lost everything.  But when a freak accident brings the three of them together, they discover that while each of them alone have nothing left they hold the key to help each other rediscover their own paths and be reborn.  Along the way, the heartbreaks ("the order of loss," as Forman calls them) is laid out as an inevitable chain of events.

A story as beautifully written and as lyrically sweet as this probably doesn't need to have its story dissected.  I've not been a huge fan of Forman's previous novels (I gave her bestseller If I Stay only a single star), but in this deceptively simple story about strangers who become friends, she has produced something quite profound.  She's explored the way that individual losses and betrayals pile up and carve paths that send us to self-destruction, and shown how friendships can break and subvert that sense of predestination.  The novel transcends its narrative, producing a story of hope and redemption that I think all of us (with our own losses and failures) ache for.

Because I felt let down by the ending which seemed so predictable and trite compared with the overall strength of the rest of the story, I hesitate to call it a perfect book, but Forman has at last produced a novel of substance that deserves the accolades usually laid on her bestsellers.

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