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Dog Day Reading…

What to read in the dog days of August when you’re scantily clad, reclining on a chaise, hand brushed across your forehead cursing the rise in humidity? After all, you can’t go out in the monsoon–what of your hair? The answer is both simple and delicious!

It’s the beautiful love letter contained in, The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. It’s a novel capturing the intensity, passion, heartbreak and yearning of first love. And the wanton sex that comes with youth, innocence and a fully given heart.

Again this month, it’s the author’s debut novel. What is it with these chicks and their first novel blockbuster style? Brava! Santopolo does work as an editor at Philomel Books and has written children’s and young adult books, but this heart wrenching tear jerker is her adult debut. Good on you, doll.

The story spans thirteen years of ups and downs and love and fate and choices and euphoria and devastation. With some Shakespeare thrown in for all the bibliophiles.

“I’ve seen you smiling, confident, blissfully happy,” Lucy tells Gabe.
“I’ve seen you broken, wounded, lost.
But I’ve never seen you like this.
You taught me to look for beauty. In darkness, in destruction, you always found light.
I don’t know what beauty I’ll find here, what light. But I’ll try. I’ll do it for you. Because I know you would do it for me.
There was so much beauty in our life together.
Maybe that’s where I should start.”

It’s a roller coaster of emotion with a side of reality. We love Gabe. We hate Gabe. Gabe, come back. But we love Darren too. He provides the safety and protection we need. But do we need that more than we need the explosion of passion at the sight of another? Is that the sacrifice when love dances too close to the fire? Why can’t a girl have both?

You’ll feel for Lucy. You’ll feel for Gabe. You’ll feel for Darren. It’s a triangle of hearts with no definition–only murky lines weeping into each other. It’s a modern day romance novel not for the faint of heart.

Santopolo’s wit shines through as does her daring, open, wounded heart and forever hope. The question remains for all of us: Is there one true love? Can we ever escape it?

Beware the journey while you wonder who Lucy’s talking to and why. It’s a novel written in conversation, with only one person, from beginning to end. Throughout, it will have you spinning tales of your own first love, the ache that only the first time brings and the desperation and devastation that joins that end.

Pick up a copy, tissues at the ready, heart open to when you were young and believed in everything. Feel your first heartbreak all over again. You know, just for fun.

Take the trip Dolls. It’s worth the price of admission.


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