Just One Year by Gayle Forman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The romantic in me let out a deep sigh after all JUST ONE YEAR was over. Recall, Before Sunset when the reporters were peppering Hawke with those questions of did they/didn’t they. As in did they meet up? Was there a Happily Ever After? Then fast forward to him making that painful-sad revelation of he did, but she couldn’t. God, heart-clutch moment, yes? Or was it just me? Thus, I hope it's not a stretch, but this whole book had me imagining the time in between Sunrise and Sunset… and if Hawke’s character were richer, ballsier, or whatever “er”, well, said character would have likely been doing exactly what Willem was … pulling me in deeper with each page!
And it’s not like this is a romance, though Just One Day had me fooled into thinking that that was what I was going to get. This is all Willem. The mystery of who he could be for her/ who he really was for her took a back seat to revealing WHO he was. Each place visited, each moment of him thinking of who/where/why Lulu was… it’s all just him. Forman so cleverly puts him in these places with the idea that it’s Lulu spurring him on… but bit by bit it’s made clear things become about who he was, is, and could be.
So, no, JUST ONE YEAR is not a love story or not just a love story. Willem is a little bit of Tom then Adam all over again, where Forman, cleverly pieces together a story of him finding his place, looking all over for it, ending up in so many situations unfathomable; of him digging in deep, finding parallels, and finally him settling and making his own way.
I love that the story takes him every where; that he hasn’t been and isn’t always the best guy; and that it’s about all these people and how they all link up somehow… and that they all matter in some manner to him and him to them.
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