The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
Format: Audiobook (purchased through Audible)
Length: 7 hrs 16 mins
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Release Date: 2017
He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?
Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.
Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.
In case you didn’t know already, I love stories set in New York City, so when I first heard about Jill Santopolo’s debut novel The Light We Lost, I immediately wanted to grab and read it! Although the novel is set in a genre that I normally wouldn’t gravitate towards, I’m trying to broaden my horizons and be open to different styles of books.
This is a love story about Lucy Carter and Gabe Samson, two young Columbia University students who meet on September 11, 2001. Anyone who’s lived and worked in NYC on this day knows the immense tragedy this day holds, and for both Lucy and Gabe, the events mold the people they would become throughout the years.
Gabe and Lucy have a whirlwind romance that sadly ends, yet they continue to stay intertwined within each other’s lives. Both Lucy and Gabe have successful careers and budding adult lives, yet there is an invisible pull that keeps the communication alive.
This novel is told in the second person, with Lucy speaking to Gabe throughout the book. This style opens up their lives for the reader, revealing secrets and desires that both people hold. We also receive an inside look at the other people who are close in Lucy’s life, and how they influence her path as time moves on.
The one thing I felt about this novel is that all the characters hold a strong degree of selfishness. Both Gabe’s and Lucy’s desires overrule the sensible choices that would be best for them. Even when they welcome other intimate relationships, there’s that degree of ‘what if?” that constantly hangs over them. Tragedy and love can spark strong emotions in people, and Lucy and Gabe both hold onto the memory of their young love desperately.
Despite this small setback, I truly appreciated the message that Jill Santopolo conveyed in The Light We Lost: holding onto true love is powerful, and leaves a strong mark on one’s soul long after the relationship is over. It tells us to value the moments and friends we have in our lives while they are still present, since life can change in an instant.
Rating: 4/5 Stars