ARC Review: The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

Winner of a gold medal in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, Suanne Laqueur’s astonishing debut novel follows a young man’s emotional journey to salvage relationships destroyed in the wake of a school shooting.

As a college freshman, Erik Fiskare is drawn to the world of theater but prefers backstage to center stage. The moment he lays eyes on a beautiful, accomplished dancer named Daisy Bianco, his atoms rearrange themselves and he is drawn into a romance both youthfully passionate and maturely soulful. Their love story thrives within a tight-knit circle of friends, all bound by creativity and artistry. A newcomer arrives–a brilliant but erratic dancer with an unquenchable thirst for connection. And when this disturbed friend brings a gun into the theater, the story is forever changed. Daisy is shot and left seriously injured. And Erik finds himself alone in the aisle, looking down the muzzle of a pistol and trying to stop the madness. He succeeds, but with tremendous repercussions to his well-being and that of his loved ones.

Traumatized by the experience, the lovers spiral into depression and drug use until a shocking act of betrayal destroys their relationship. To survive, Erik must leave school and disconnect from all he loves. He buries his heartbreak and puts the past behind. Or so he believes.

As he moves into adulthood, Erik comes to grips with his role in the shooting, and slowly heals the most wounded parts of his soul. But the unresolved grief for Daisy continues to shape his dreams at night. Once those dreams were haunted by blood and gunfire. Now they are haunted by the refrain of a Gershwin song and a single question: is leaving always the end of loving?

Spanning 15 years, The Man I Love explores themes of love and sexuality, trauma—physical and mental—and its long-lasting effects, the burden of unfinished business and the power of reconciliation. Through Erik’s experience we reflect on what it means to be a man, a son and a leader. A soul mate, a partner and a lover. What it means to live the truth of who you are and what you feel. What it means to fight for what you love.

Review

You know you have those books in your TBR Pile, the one that’s been sitting right there in front of you, and yet you never think of picking it up, because well it’s right there and you aren’t in the mood or even because you have this feeling that you might not like it!

And when you read it – you understand, oh how you understand, the biggest mistake you ever made was to actually ignore this beauty, this beauty that gave you more happiness and more feels and more emotions than any other book has ever given you! And you regret, you regret so much, because all this time was wasted, time that could have been spent totally emotionally fulfilled and basically bawling my eyes out at the sheer beauty of an amazing book.

“All I know is twelve years later, you’re still in my head and I don’t stop thinking about you. I can’t stop thinking about you.”

For me that book came to be – The Man I Love.

As a rule, I don’t usually like a literary fiction talking about the journey of a single man – I find it a little too based on reality to even consider it (I read to get away from reality!), so I keep my distance from it. But somehow when I actually read the blurb, it touched some part of me that I tend to ignore most times, because it makes me really uncomfortable to have in conscious.

Erik is a college freshman in love with a beautiful dancer, Daisy – but it all falls apart when a friend of theirs opens gunfire in the theatre and it is the end of them and the life as it knows.

It takes more than half of his life, but Erik slowly but surely takes back control over his wounded self and his past but the one thing that he can’t let go of is her – the girl he fell in love with!

“The man I love all right,” Daisy said…
“I love you,” Erik said, laughing. He caught her hand, holding onto the connection a few more precious seconds…
“I love us,” she said, and kissed him.
“Us.”

The moment I completed this book – I was in a daze and I stayed in that daze for at least a couple of days – all I did was go through everyday life and keep remembering single moments in the book that would either make smile like the romantic fool that I obviously am or make me clutch my chest that was hurting due to an ache that felt almost physical.

Even now, when I have mountains of books to read, I still come back to this book, and just read through my favourite parts and I would know just know that everything in my life that feels unsettled will settle soon enough.

This book starts off slow, and yes, it might feel like there isn’t anything happening, but you have to keep your patience and have faith, because this author is brilliance on to her own. This book is romance, but it’s real, oh it is so god damn real. The characters are flawed, and I so obviously relate to, (that everyone will relate to), thus making me face the fact, that while I like my fictional characters to be imperfectly perfect, I love them even more when they are a reflection of reality, because that shows that there is hope for us in reality even if it feels as if we have screwed up or gone into the darkness so far that even the memory of a light hurts.

This isn’t book that you can ever take lightly, and you shouldn’t even dream of doing so, because when you read this book, you realise that HEA aren’t just a dream, they can be your reality, all you need to do is have the courage to fight, to hope and to have faith.

Yes, there are parts of the book that I didn’t like, but then again, there are parts of my reality I don’t like either, but that doesn’t mean that I hate it, or that it overshadows the meaning behind my life, it just shows that even through the bad parts, or that part that breaks my heart are what makes my life exactly mine – and that is exactly what this book teaches you.

“She had my heart. I gave her my soul.”

Rating

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Recommendation

This is an unequivocal recommendation – every reader needs to read this book. Every reader needs this book in their life.

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