I was watching Shannon’s soccer game and I asked another mom who is also an avid reader about good books. She told me about this book and said it was the best book discussion they ever had. Intruiged, I went to Amazon.com and looked at the reviews. The most helpful positive review said something like this: “Read this book, just read it. Read it. Why haven’t you read it already?”.
Here is the opening sentence: “Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love.” Sigh. I love a good first sentence.
This is a novel about a young man who survives a horrific car accident that leaves him barely alive and seriously burned. The man is not very likeable, he is a drug addict and has no family and makes a living as a porn star. His car crashed during the middle of a drug episode. His recovery from the accident is graphic and sometimes hard to read and you think this might be a novel about his physical recovery.
Then the author introduces Marianne, the beautiful but somewhat crazy woman who claims she was his lover and wife in a former life. Interesting. But not only was she his lover in a former life, it was in medieval Germany and she has the stories and the props to back it all up.
Ultimately, I give this book a rating of a 4. It is well written and has a hero that you learn to really love. He isn’t perfect. In fact, my favorite line of his in the book is how he is describing how he has been changed by the accident. He says that he doesn’t claim to love all people now, he just hates fewer people than he used to. He goes on to say: “it may seem like a weak claim to personal growth, but sometimes these things should be judged by distance traveled rather than by current position.”
It’s also a brilliant love story but there are too many stories off to the side that add unnecessary complexity. Had this book been edited more tightly it could have been more mainstream and a book club favorite. However, at 516 pages only the most serious and patient readers will make it to the end.
But what a shame. It has the most sad and romantic ending! Consider this quote: “Any man who believes he can describe love understands nothing about it.”
I will qualify my recommendation so as not to make it as strong as the Amazon reviewer: “If you have the patience for a 500 page book with a few side stories, then READ it!”