Synopsis: After a whirlwind romance, Elsie and Ben are married. Just nine days after their wedding, Ben is killed in an accident and Elsie must deal with not only her grief, but dealing with Ben’s mother, who she never met, and justifying her pain to people who think she didn’t know Ben long enough.
Spoiler Free Review:
I was honestly so scared of this book because I had heard that it was just so sad…and I will confirm, it is so sad! It starts sad, it ends sad, and the entire middle is sad. Be prepared.
The interesting thing about this book is that it is told from two different times. The first is the “present”, where Ben dies and Elsie must cope. The “past” recounts their entire relationship, which was only six months long. This made the book particularly tragic because you get a glimpse of a place or object important to them in the past, then immediately afterward, you see Elsie seeing it alone.
I don’t know what its like to lose a husband, or even someone particularly close to myself, so I know that I have no right to judge, but I didn’t really like Elsie because she was so rude to people sometimes. I understand that what she went through was absolutely terrible, but some things that she did or said really crossed the line, especially when it came to the people trying to help her.
I absolutely loved the relationships in this book, particularly Elsie’s relationship with Susan, Ben’s mom, and Mr. Callahan, a regular at the library that Elsie works at. They just learned so much from each other about life, love, and grief, and those were my absolute favorite scenes in the book.
A supernova is a short burst of extraordinary energy… I like to think you and Ben were like that… that you ended abruptly, but in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.pg. 301
One big problem I had was how young adult books were treated in this book. Ben loved YA books, and it felt like Elsie never took that seriously, even as a librarian. She kind of made fun of him for liking them and made fun of the books themselves. It just rubbed me the absolute wrong way, especially as someone who reads a lot of young adult books.
This book was so heartbreaking, but I really enjoyed the experience of it. It has got to have one of the saddest last lines in a book that I’ve read. When looking for the quote above, I saw the last line and started crying again, that’s how much this book hurt me. It isn’t all about hurt though, it’s also about healing, acceptance, and moving on. If you are looking for a sad book, definitely check this one out!