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Book Review: “The Light We Lost”

Photo by Allison Arterburn


Everybody has a book that makes you see the world differently. It could break your heart in two, land you in a puddle of tears while also considering every decision you made in the process. This is exactly what “The Light We Lost” did to me.


Do the choices we make ultimately affect the road we end up on? I personally believe so and “The Light We Lost” eloquently follows that. We all look back at pivotal times in our lives and regret the things we said or did not say, the things we did or did not do, and the things we knew at the time or did not until much later. If we said what we wanted, would the outcome change, and if so how much? Would I be happy? Would knowing something change our course?


Lucy has to make a life altering decision, but before she can she tells her and Gabe’s story from the beginning. Using second person Jill Santopolo tells the readers Lucy is talking to somebody, Gabe in particular, referring him to “you.”


We follow Lucy’s story for 13 years, reliving every important moment leading up to this decision. Like most couples, and life in general, their wildfire romance crumbles apart and he leaves to pursue his own dream, leaving me personally in a mess only 80 pages in. I knew I was in trouble when I am only this far in and already crying!


Which is where we meet Darren. The slow burning love that is unexpected but nice and safe. The opposite of Gabe in every way. Calculated and held in one place, but Lucy seems to always look for something wrong with him.


Santopolo plays off the well known phrase that first loves with all always have a piece of your heart. While Gabe had all of Lucy’s heart, I do not think she had Gabe’s heart, not entirely at least, like he had hers. I think his heart was guarded for him, selfish and unwavering. But I think, just like I mentioned before, there is a part of Gabe’s heart that will always be kept for Lucy.


Gabe only calls when he needs to hear her voice. Using her when he is broken. Knowing she will be there for him because he knows he has her whole heart. No matter what he has done wrong, and how much he has hurt him she will be by his side.


In all honesty, if anybody asks me, which nobody will, I am team Lucy. Lucy deserves so much better than these two. I would want her to realize and see her worth without both, or any other man.


She is strong and worth so much more. In the novel she holds by the statement of not wanting to be defined as somebody’s wife or mother. Lucy holds onto this statement throughout but both men question her dreams or wanting her to drop them all together for his dream. A man should not define who she is or make her dreams feel like they are nothing.


With that said, finishing this book actually took a lot longer than normal. I knew I was heading into a train wreck of tears waiting for me the last 50 pages or so. It scares me that a person can have that strong of a hold on you.


“The Light We Lost” had me feel all the feels but also made me think. A novel I will recommend but with caution. These characters are messy, selfish and are written in a way that feels human. A reason why everybody cannot stop talking about this novel, now including me.


Twenty year old ISC major taking life day to day through a Polaroid camera.
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