’Lovely, Dark and Deep’ by Amy McNamara
It wasn’t quite the love story which made me turn page after page in ‘Lovely, Dark and Deep’. Of course I was curious to find out whether Wren would end up finding happiness in love, but that wasn’t what made this book great. What I really wondered was, whether this unfortunate girl could find her way back to a decent life worth living — or not.
’Lovely, Dark and Deep’
October 12th 2012
Simon & Schuster
It may well be that Wren Wells survived the accident in which her boyfriend Patrick died. But the girl she used to be, didn’t survive.
Now she has fled to her father’s studio and avoids almost all contact with the world outside. In fact, in periods she also prefers not to speak. Her mother, her father, her best friend and Patrick’s sister, tries to reach out. But Wren can’t let them in.
One day on a bike ride, a car accidentally pushes Wren off the road and into a tree. The driver, Cal Owen, struggles with his own problems. He has – like Wren – fled to an inner peaceful place, where he can think about things.
At the same time Wrens mom has become too worried about her daughters well-being. She’s convinced that Wrens grieving process has derailed and that Wrens isolation isn’t the right way for her to get over the loss. Therefore she tries talking Wren into starting at college – to come out an interact with other young people – but Wren doesn’t like the idea much.
Then Wren’s father gives Wren the opportunity to go find an easy daytime job, and in return he’ll promise to hold back the mothers college plans.
Wren being pushed into a job and her discovery about Cal Owens suffering from sclerosis, is a double whammy that turns into something positive, because Cal needs a help in his house.
Wrens new job turns into a friendship, which leads into deeper feelings. But now Wrens coping strategy, the isolation, is threatened. Part of her wants to be with Cal because he understands her, but the memories of Patrick still haunts her. And how can she make a fresh start, when everybody around her can’t let go of the girl she was before?
I was Wren
I truly love the honesty of Wren in ‘Lovely, Dark and Deep’. The story is told from her point of view, and I couldn’t get closer to her. I saw the world through her eyes, I was inside her head, and there were no secrets between her and me. I was Wren!
The backwoods fascinated me
Wren’s father’s house and studio is located in the far northern forests of Maine – this is where the story unfolds. And I could really see the landscape. The tall trees coated with a layer of white snow, the paths that are only visible because Wren on her jogs has left prints in the snow. It is the beautiful and deserted surroundings that really completed Wrens isolation. It fascinates me that there is so desolate that it is possible to take a walk in the woods without encountering a single living soul. Not only were I Wren, I also could see through her eyes – quite clearly.
Excerpt from ’Lovely, Dark and Deep’
I could throw up. I pick up my fork and force myself to eat, instead. The food sticks in my throat. I close my eyes a second. Try to figure out how this is my life. It’s like last May I stepped on the wrong stone and slipped into this rotten otherworld. A place where the stakes are higher than you ever knew they could be and people deal with these kinds of things. Accidents. Illness. Death. Loss. Weights I can scarcely carry. I bite the inside of my cheek to toughen up.
“My turn,” he says, “for questions.”
I make myself look up at him again. He’s trying to shake off the gloom that’s settled on the table between us. I force a small smile. His hair won’t stay out of his eyes. I like that. The way it falls forward.
“So, you are an artist, too?”
I shrug, nod, shrug again. “I used to make pictures, photographs.”
Then he hits me with it.
“You know, you don’t have to let what happened to you end your life,” he says.
Not ‘just another love story’
I really feel that I can take a lot with me from ‘Lovely, Dark and Deep’. It is not ‘just another love story’ of two unhappy people who meet by chance and then fall in love.
It’s the story about a girl whose life on a single evening took a U-turn and how she tries to move forward again. Every day was a challenge and a struggle for Wren, and I participated in her fight.
Also the story was unpredictable, and the made it a pageturner. I just had to know what happened the next day and what feelings Wren was about to go through.
A good cry
‘Lovely, Dark and Deep’ has this wonderful message, that we all grieve in our own way. And if you – like me – just love emotional contemporaries that will make you both smile and have a good cry, this could definitely be a book for you.
If you throw all emotions into a bag – guilt, love, sadness, joy, confusion, despair – and shake them thoroughly and then write a book, you’ll probably end up with a cocktail like ‘Lovely, Dark and Deep’, and I guess it was that, I liked so much.