This story managed to simultaneously break my heart and repair it. The author approached this subject matter beautifully and managed to do justice to a situation that no parent wants to contemplate yet many live every single day.
Caroline used to have it all: she was madly in love with her husband, Peter, and they worshiped their beautiful baby girl. But as Lily grows into a toddler, Caroline notices that her daughter seems to live and act with a disconnect, and soon the perfect future Caroline had envisioned, along with her marriage, begin to crumble. Now she and Peter are no longer lovers, they’re plaintiffs in the throes of divorce while still struggling to care for Lily. After years of blame and overwhelming despair, Caroline’s chance encounter with a stranger at University Hospital opens her eyes to the prospect of accepting new support, new loves, and new dreams.
From the acclaimed author of “The Final Piece” comes a story of a family broken and unable to cope with a daughter’s disability. And a mother who finds that letting go of the life she imagined may be the only way to get to the life she was meant for.
This story follows Caroline as she wrangles her relationships with the people closest to her and learns slowly, to let herself live just a little. Caroline is the recently separated mother of a little girl named lily. Lily was a very longed for baby for Caroline and her husband Pete but unfortunately no matter how much something is wished for sometimes life just doesn’t go to plan. This is a fact that all of the characters in this book have to face in their own way, it is an universal truth, and possibly one of the things that rung so true to me with this story is that life really does just carry on. Whether you’ve just received terrible news about your child, or separated from your partner, or faced a death of a loved one. Life just continues to march on, at the end of the day you either march on with it or are left to drift about while being swallowed by circumstances that are never ever fair.
I’ve seen a bit of talk from people reviewing this book that they felt that Caroline’s reaction to Lily’s issues was an overreaction. That they couldn’t understand how 3 years down the track she was still such a wreck about it. However I disagree. I felt like her reaction, and continued reaction is definitely in the realms of normal. There is no guide book on how to deal with situations like what Caroline and Lily face. Unless you’re a parent of a child that has ever received news similar you would never ever be able to comprehend what that feeling would be, and even then, every single person is so unique. People grieve differently, and that essentially is what Caroline is doing. Grieving the life she believed her daughter would have. Coming to terms with a new reality. Realizing that this is her life now, that there is no changing it. So to me the portrayal of Caroline was authentic, no matter how uncomfortable it was at times to witness.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that things always have a way of working themselves out and that happily ever after is within our reach, if we just work hard enough. The truth is that none of us are immune to tragedy. No matter how hard you work, no matter how good you are, life isn’t obligated to give you a fairy-tale ending.
I also felt like this book detailed separation and divorce in a very real way. As much as sometimes it’s hard to grasp, there doesn’t always have to be some huge catastrophic event that breaks a marriage apart. Sometimes people just have so much difficulty with their own stuff that they can’t possibly maintain a relationship with another and this essentially is what Caroline and Pete went through. They were seemingly victims of their circumstances. The demise of their marriage a powerful warning of what happens when you stop communicating. You can tell that it was inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any easier to digest especially since Pete is not a terrible person,e’s just doing his best just as Caroline is doing hers. Seeing all of this just made me want to scream some sense into them, which I think is the point. Once again, reality bites and this is a very realistic depiction of the casualties of life.
I feel like I’ve made this story sound all doom and gloom! I promise it’s not. Yes, it is a heavy read. It had me close to tears more than a few times, sometimes out of frustration, sometimes out of sadness. But it’s also a story of living. And very slowly you get to see Caroline develop into more than a distraught mother, when she meets her ‘stranger’ you suddenly see a flash of possibility, that maybe life can take an unexpected turn for the better once in a while. I LOVED the storyline between Caroline and Tate. I loved that it stayed true to the tone of the book, that it was painted in the realism of life, that he wasn’t ‘perfect and rich and super happy with model like looks and suddenly all issues were solved.’ No, he had his own baggage. He couldn’t always be available, he had life to attend to just as she did. Together they helped each other. Life isn’t always tidy and perfect and romantic but that doesn’t make it any less special, I loved this book… Sometimes we just all need to know that there’s hope in even the seemingly worst of times…