Sunday, April 14, 2013

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If He Had Been With Me
Good Reads Summary
If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died.

Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable—they finished each other's sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she's always wondered what if...

The night she's about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I truly felt I knew this girl except with that positive comes the negative of me not liking her all that much, simply because she made it incredibly hard for me to do so. Perhaps that's OK because does one need to love the protagonist to love her story? And this is one story that I did love... it's her laying out who she is, who Finny is, and who they are/were to each other.  The specifics gone into her story had me knowing her (but not loving everything she had to say/ do,) mainly it's the slow realizations on her part coupled with her not so stellar moments that had her coming alive for me. And then there's Finny... Also, the last three chapters? Broke my heart…

So, we have her present then her past then a prologue that makes it clear what's coming. A lot like with INFINITE SKY, you know it's coming but continuing as I did I think I made a decision anchored on a hope that maybe just maybe something else would carry their story to an alternate end. Anyway, working toward an ending that we are already aware of, we see this girl and this boy and them being together and then them growing apart, for reasons not that clear to the players themselves.

And apart for much of the book, a lot of what she experiences, besides the whole complicated mess of Finny/Autumn, range from the sad to the real to the sweet then the annoying:  first loves, parental blow ups, depression and then the failing to deal; as well as family friends who read more like family than those who actually were family; plus ‘friend’ friends and her finding a place among them; and then losing connection then making them again to herself then to others. They all had me loving them... 'till I wasn't anymore.

Of course, while that present’s rolling on, there are those bits of her past inserted here then there that made it plain just who she was to him and vice versa. Yes, it’s the length of time covered in the book that allows a clear picture of Autumn to surface, but it’s those snippets of a shared past with Finny that had me liking her. A part of me cannot get over her need to be reassured by others over devotion and leaving and loving, but another part of me could grasp why she was the way she was.... Still, it's hard to love her, but right now I feel like I get her.

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