I'm torn on this one, because as a whole, the book takes way too long to get to the really interesting part, does not end on a high note and just generally shows too many weaknesses in writing, especially in the form of numerous supposedly profound chapter-ending paragraphs that come across as pretentious and confusing. However, when the book gets it right, marvelously real and relatable sentiments are uncovered by way of beautifully crafted, truly piercing sentences that stun as much with their artistry and force as with the abruptness with which they stick out among the otherwise unevenly composed novel.
The heart of this story is the decade-long relationship between a girl and a young man nine years her senior. The age difference and the fact that he was her high school teacher offer automatically shock value to the parts of the book where the beginning of their sexual relations is depicted. Credit must be given that the author never abused such shock value to turn her work into any pop lit porn in the vein of "Fifty Shades". Without sacrificing the erotic nature of this immoral affair, she focuses on the life-changing pwoer of such young and taboo love that would eventually define and haunt both parties for life. It's when she deals with this theme that the book really soars. It gets the thrill, joy, wonderment, trauma brought on by such a definitive life event exactly right, carefully following up on the characters as they progress in life, meet and fall apart again, tracing the sparks of forbidden love they've been fruitless trying to find in others. Many great depictions of unfulfilled passion, self-dount, despair and heartbreaks are to be found here.
That said, the book wastes too much time dwelling on other subplots leading up to and súrrounding the central story. The family drama never really takes off, and the many pages devoted to the girl's high school life in the first part of the book just feel out-of-place. In the end, a certain aggregated emotional weight is brought on by the passage of time and development of characters. It's en epic sigh and that's always nice, but then the author somehow wastes it with more of her less smartly formulated and curiously empty ending remarks....Continua