Emma and Dexter spend one evening together after their college graduation set in Scotland on St. Swithin’s Day and then part ways vowing to try and stay in touch. Every chapter is written on the same day one year later for over twenty years.
“You can live your whole life not realizing that what you’re looking for is right in front of you.”
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about only getting a one day update of their relationship with 364 days in between not mentioned. The writing was superb in preventing that from happening. You didn’t feel like you missed the details of life in between. It was the perfect way to keep in touch with the characters and see what stages they were in their personal and private lives.
Like any friendship/relationship, theirs ebbs and flows. Sometimes they have great memories together and at times they “break up” and go their separate ways. It felt genuine and profound.
“So – whatever happened to you?’
‘Life. Life happened.”
“Dexter, I love you so much. So, so much, and I probably always will. I just don’t like you anymore. I’m sorry.”
There were scenes that had me absolutely laughing out loud: a vacation to Greece, Dex’s night with Jas, Emma working at a Mexican restaurant, the wedding reunion. They had such great rapport and banter with one another filled with depth, humor and honesty. Although I disliked some of the choices Dex made , it didn’t take away from the fact that he was just trying to navigate his life and desperately trying to fill the void and “be someone”.
“You’re gorgeous, you old hag. If I would give you anything in this world it would be this. Confidence. Either that or a scented candle.”
Emma is one of my favorite characters written. At times, she could be a bit stoic, snarky and stuffy but her brutal honesty, quick wit and determination to never settle made her such a likable and strong character. Even when she was in a bad relationship or in a rut with her career, she always found humor and self-deprecation to put things in perspective.
“Sympathy for the spinster. I’m perfectly content, thank you. And I refuse to be defined by my boyfriend. Or lack of. Once you decide not to worry about that stuff anymore, dating and relationships and love and all that, it’s like you’re free to get on with real life.”
“Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”
The ending….oh the ending! What a mix of emotions. But without going there, I really loved the scene from Arthur’s Seat where you witness why their friendship lasted for twenty years. They wanted to be a part of each other’s lives in any way they could. Their connection was different and they knew it.
Yes, it was heartbreaking! But if you have had a friendship/relationship similar that spans over decades and you have just terrible timing, have to sit on the sidelines while you watch them woo another or go through heartbreak, you can relate. I did! This story also has moments of sheer happiness and humor that make you appreciate those little moments in life. This book resurfaces those feelings and reaches into your heart and soul.
“Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”