The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Light We Lost

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide the...

Title:The Light We Lost
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0735212759
Number of Pages:328 pages

The Light We Lost Reviews

  • Larry H
  • *TANYA*

    Why is 5 stars the limit??!! OMG!!! I LOVED, loved this freaking book!!! The entire time I was reading, I had a sense of foreboding. The style in which it is told felt like a confession and immediately I was apprehensive. Sigh. Lovely. My poor tear-ducts. Lol

    "Love does that. It makes you feel infinite and invincible, like the whole world is open to you, anything is achievable."

  • Pouting Always

    The first day she spent with Gabe has stayed with Lucy ever after, even though they didn't really see one another again afterwards. She is inexplicably drawn to Gabe and so when years later they meet in a bar the two start dating. Gabe isn't happy though, he wants to do more with his life and is afraid of ending up like his own father, resentful and unsuccessful. As he pursues his photography he realizes he wants to go abroad and capture the struggles and political turmoil which means leaving Lu

    The first day she spent with Gabe has stayed with Lucy ever after, even though they didn't really see one another again afterwards. She is inexplicably drawn to Gabe and so when years later they meet in a bar the two start dating. Gabe isn't happy though, he wants to do more with his life and is afraid of ending up like his own father, resentful and unsuccessful. As he pursues his photography he realizes he wants to go abroad and capture the struggles and political turmoil which means leaving Lucy behind. The two break up but Lucy can't stop thinking about Gabe even after she eventually gets married and has kids she keeps coming back to him.

    I really liked the writing and the pacing of the book and though I'm not a big fan of pining I still enjoyed the book. The plot has been done before, especially the ending and I know I read a similar book at some point this year but the execution was good so it wasn't a big deal. I think I mostly feel annoyed at Lucy for her fixation with Gabe and this idea that there's something romantic about intensity and heartache. Doesn't mean I didn't cry there at the end because it was still really sad but I just think that it's impractical to think about relationships the way she did. I mean she didn't ever date Gabe long enough to know how it would actually be once there was more pressure from life and problems on them. Also when you spend years thinking about someone you tend to build it up in your head and make it into something it may actually not be. I don't think Lucy's love for Gabe was love but really obsession with what she thinks they had and what she wants and can't have. I really did enjoy the book though and even though at times the romance felt cheesy, as it does when it's not yourself, it was sweet and addressed the idea of loving more than one person at a time pretty well. The complexities of relationships were captured really well and I really liked Lucy acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of both her relationships rather than making it seem like with Gabe it was always perfect.

  • Amalia Gavea

    This book was quite a departure from what I usually choose to read. It was all in the cover, to be honest. I saw the lovely couple’s silhouettes and I said ‘’yeah, okay. Bye!’’ Because romance, people. Not my style at all. But, then my brain processe

    This book was quite a departure from what I usually choose to read. It was all in the cover, to be honest. I saw the lovely couple’s silhouettes and I said ‘’yeah, okay. Bye!’’ Because romance, people. Not my style at all. But, then my brain processed the New York scenery in the blue background and the title that sounded bittersweet, sad and I said to myself I would pretend this wasn’t a romance, but good old Contemporary Fiction. And I was right, thankfully. Yes, at the heart of the story lies the love and unbreakable bond between two people, but it was more complex than that. Family, choices, priorities, worries over an uncertain future are issues that are very prominent in this book, and reading it was a delight. And I confess, there were two-three times when I was really moved. And a little pissed-off at the characters’ choices…

    Many have claimed there’s no plot in this book. I disagree. Not every novel can have mind-blowing moments, twists and turns. What about a story that touches upon daily, universal subjects and has a quiet beauty and characters one could actually meet in actual life? Sometimes, these are elements that are enough to satisfy a reader.So, we follow Lucy and Gabe’s relationship through the years, starting in that nightmarish day of 2001 when terror struck New York and the world changed forever. Lucy and Gabe make some bad choices and their lives turn quite differently that they had planned. Still, the love they share is strong and so beautifully written that you cannot help feeling both touched and concerned over what the future has in store for them.

    Do I believe in love at first sight? Definitely. I guarantee you it exists, and I am the least romantic person you’ll ever find. In this novel, we witness a kind of love that starts as an obsession (and we all know how that feels when we are 20 years old) and becomes so strong that haunts the characters’ lives and the lives of those who struggle to approach them. Now, such a bond is unique, almost rare and it must be hard for a writer to communicate it to the reader without resorting to clichés. Jill Santopolo succeeds in creating a kind of language that is both contemporary and beautiful, lyrical and raw where needed. As we witness life unfolding through Lucy’s eyes, we are given a sense of her longing for Gabe, remembering their life together, and the way this pining is depicted is powerful, sincere, realistic, devoid of any drama.

    I really, really liked Lucy. She has the strength to admit her own faults and stands for her choices, she has her head screwed together and her doubts are understandable. She isn’t in the least bit selfish, to the point when I know I would have chosen differently. (But this is my personal opinion…)Gabe is complementing her perfectly, although they are two very different personalities. He had the power to make me really angry at times (often…) I mean, the guy was so wishy-washy and couldn’t see further than the end of his own nose. His choices can be a matter of endless debate, but he is so well-written that he makes us look upon him as if he is that troubled friend or relative who always gets on our nerves -especially at family gatherings- but you cannot help loving him and caring for him. However, Darren...Bliah!!! Yikes!! I do hate him and I cannot lie. You can find me a dozen reasons that are supposed to make me sympathise with him and I’d still want to punch him. The man is a human soup - I hate soup, sorry:) - and I hate him. Truly! The way he constantly doubts Lucy and tries to patronize her is outrageous…

    The theme in focus isn’t love, in my opinion, but choices and priorities. The great ‘’what ifs’’’ that shape our lives. What do we want from life when we find ourselves at a point where we need to sacrifice something we love for something we feel equally strongly about? Do we wait? Do we compromise? Do we wonder what could have gone differently? Of course, we do. And these questions do not refer only to romantic feelings, but to anything related to future plans and human relationships. You see? This book is far from a simple romance…

    I cannot recommend it enough. Read it for the descriptions of New York during terrifying times and times of prosperity and hope. Read it for a beautiful reference to a kind of love that is firmly rooted in the souls of two people. Read it to reflect or reminisce of the past. Perhaps a similar feeling once came your way. Read it because it is a very good book, not light, not heavy. Just realistic and attainable.

    ……...and did I mention I hate Darren?

  • emma

    I don't know if this is going to be funny.

    is your reaction, I presume. I know. Without fail, no matter what, I’m funny. That’s the Emma Guarantee: Five stars or one, hilarity ensues™. But not this time, maybe.

    (Update from later: I ended up writing the majority of this review at a later date from this initial bit (had to let the injustice simmer into humor, you know how it is) (yeah, I just hit you with double parentheses, what are you gonna do about

    I don't know if this is going to be funny.

    is your reaction, I presume. I know. Without fail, no matter what, I’m funny. That’s the Emma Guarantee: Five stars or one, hilarity ensues™. But not this time, maybe.

    (Update from later: I ended up writing the majority of this review at a later date from this initial bit (had to let the injustice simmer into humor, you know how it is) (yeah, I just hit you with double parentheses, what are you gonna do about it?). Anyway, sometimes while writing this I got too mad to be funny but honestly, my amusing-ness comes naturally. So it worked out.)

    I feel a really massive mix of emotions right now. And not in a fun way. I will try to list some feelings that are currently warring within me: sadness, irritation, anger, confusion, disappointment. Hm! All negative. Not looking good for you, three stars, four stars, and five stars. Look! Progress on the rating front already.

    This is the synopsis I read of this book (you know, the bananas misleading one that made me make the mistake of picking it up): “For your friend who ugly cried while watching ‘One Day’....‘The Light We Lost’ will bring you back. This read’s about two people who meet in strange circumstances who keep running into each other over the years. Get it, then grab the Kleenex.”

    Um, no. I goddamn wish. But no.

    (To clarify, I didn’t ugly cry at One Day. Uh, duh. That would destroy my whole thing. My carefully cultivated brand. I just really like stories in which people meet coincidentally over time.)

    Instead of that synopsis, we get a metric f*ck ton of characters who fully suck treating each other terribly. The crown jewel in this treasure trove of horrible is our eye roll-inducing protagonist, Lucy. On 9/11 - yes, 9/11 - Lucy meets Gabe, and they instantly fall in love and make out while 3,000 people are dying blocks away. Yes, those are the “strange circumstances.”

    That’s, like, ten pages in.

    The worst bit is you can

    the author knows it’s offensive. She inserts excuses about how hundreds of people were doing it, and tries to make it profound by the use of truisms about how massive loss of life makes the living want to live. So, like, if you knew it was awful, PICK ANY OTHER DAY IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. But beginning your ~life-changing romance~ during one of the greatest tragedies in American history?

    God. I’d like to clarify that my “mix of emotions” has changed. Now it’s exclusively fury. THIS BOOK JUST MAKES ME SO ANGRY. Lucy is so self-centered and immature and inconsiderate and emotionally stunted, and so is Gabe. They totally

    perfect for each other! We follow them for 13 years, while they consistently throw the people in their lives to the side in favor of making steamy eye contact with one another whenever possible.

    They don’t “keep running into each other over the years.” It’s all orchestrated and intentional, BECAUSE THEY’RE OBSESSED WITH EACH OTHER. They never talk about anything else, and they see each other at every opportunity. It doesn’t matter if Lucy is dating, or engaged, or married, or married with children. Whenever Gabe shows up, she drops EVERYTHING. She brings her young daughter with her to see him when he gets the news that his mom died, so that toddler gets the fun childhood memory of seeing an adult stranger uncontrollably crying alongside an early confrontation of the reality and pervasiveness of death!

    She also dates, gets engaged to, marries, and has children with this guy Darren, I think, who adores her, despite never really being totally sold on the dude. He turns out to be a total piece of sh*t, but that’s just so Gabe looks better in comparison.

    Gabe really needs that. Because he’s just as self-obsessed and inconsiderate as Lucy, and also utterly pretentious, totally egocentric and BORING. (Lucy is also the latter.) This isn’t so much an incredible love story as “Wow, those two people are truly horrible. They should end up together.”

    The worst thing that happens in this book - besides the 9/11 incorporation - is a massive spoiler, so don’t read this if you’re at all feeling like you may pick up the book.

    And now, my thoughts on that, which are also spoilery:

    This whole thing just felt like emotional manipulation. Darren existed to make Gabe seem okay, and every twist of the plot was calculated to be the most emotional rollercoaster-y it could be, and everything turned out the way it did in the hopes it would seem like a Meaningful Story. But it doesn’t. It’s just awful. 9/11 was used as a motif, for God’s sake! It was just trying to score Emotional And Profound points all the way. Which is so f*cked.

    Lucy also talks down constantly about stay at home moms, and it drives me crazy. Just f*cking let women do what they want, for the love of all that is good and Reese’s-branded. (My version of good and holy.) A career woman is no better than a full-time mom. That’s, like, the entire point of feminism. Is it antifeminist to say I wanna punch Lucy in her stupid face? Keep in mind that I’ll face-punch the male characters of this book, too. #Equality

    I really have no clue what the message of this book is, either. A lot of really horrible stuff happens, and it gets worse and worse, and then it just...ends. There’s no moral or hint at what happens next. Again, just trying to emotionally manipulate the reader without actual, you know, purpose. It’s no Me Before You, guys.

    But even if this book didn’t suffer from all the stuff I mentioned - and God, did it suffer - I still wouldn’t like it. Because this whole book focuses on a love that consumes, that dims all other loves and joys and small happinesses in life, that prevents one from focusing on everything else. And who the f*ck would want that? Lucy is a broken record through this whole book because she loves a boring asshole

    . Her children and friendships and marriage suffer for it. There’s nothing that’s worth that, and this book sure did a sh*tty job of trying to convince me otherwise.

    Bottom line: I’m angry all over again. NOOOOOOO, I scream from the rooftops. A big ol’ nope for this one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Warda

    My heart is broken. I am blown away and broken. I don't know how to review this, so I'm going to ramble for a bit.

    Firstly, I want to thank Putnam Books for sending me a review copy. I'm so appreciative!

    Secondly, if there's one thing that I took away from this story is to follow your heart. To fully trust and go with your gut. This book had me so irritated with the nature and fragility of human beings, which we obviously can't control at times, because we fall into the trap of following that whi

    My heart is broken. I am blown away and broken. I don't know how to review this, so I'm going to ramble for a bit.

    Firstly, I want to thank Putnam Books for sending me a review copy. I'm so appreciative!

    Secondly, if there's one thing that I took away from this story is to follow your heart. To fully trust and go with your gut. This book had me so irritated with the nature and fragility of human beings, which we obviously can't control at times, because we fall into the trap of following that which is safe and stable, rather than stepping into fear, the unknown and that which might possibly break us, but will make us feel the most alive and accomplished.

    This story was written like a love letter. Told from the perspective of Lucy, our main character, she narrates the time when she met Gabe and developed an intense, once-in-a-lifetime type relationship, which didn't work out, but since then has affected every aspect of her life. It was deeply evocative, brutally honest and a raw account on love. Tragic to know that we as humans often settle.

    The writing was simple, gorgeous. The emotions are portrayed so vividly through it. I was captivated from the beginning!

    Gosh, this needs to be made into a movie or something. And everyone has to read it.

  • Melissa

    If you’re anything like me—a lover of love, believer in fate or a sentimental dreamer—drop

    and read this book . . .

    . I had an inkling this was going to be something special when I picked it up, but I had no idea just how hard this story would tug on my heart or how emotionally invested I would become.

    What lends this story a unique feel, in my opinion, is the way

    tells it. Through the eyes of Lucy, a woman living in New York, we’re given a front row seat to an all-co

    If you’re anything like me—a lover of love, believer in fate or a sentimental dreamer—drop

    and read this book . . .

    . I had an inkling this was going to be something special when I picked it up, but I had no idea just how hard this story would tug on my heart or how emotionally invested I would become.

    What lends this story a unique feel, in my opinion, is the way

    tells it. Through the eyes of Lucy, a woman living in New York, we’re given a front row seat to an all-consuming, passion-filled, crazy-intense love—the kind that you experience once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky.

    Each chapter serves as a vignette of sorts—a combination of Lucy and Gabe over their 14-month relationship and Lucy over a ten-year span, post-Gabe. The interesting thing is, it’s written as if Lucy is talking directly to the one man that will always own a piece of her soul. The man her mind and heart always seem to gravitate towards. She’s reminiscing in a way—pouring her heart out to her first love Gabe, sharing her thoughts about what was

    right and in hindsight what should have given her pause—were the choices they made way back when the right ones? Naturally, you have to wonder,

    now? How has Lucy landed herself in this moment after so much time has gone by and they’ve both essentially moved on with their lives? Or have they?

    This story delves deep and through Lucy examines how our decisions—the compromises or lack thereof, the burning desire to chase our dreams or willingness to set them aside and the acceptance or rejection of another’s perceived flaws—ultimately shape the lives we lead and the relationships that remain a constant. Is being together a twist of fate at all or is it more of a conscious choice?

    Not everyone, myself included, will fully understand

    decision Lucy makes along the way, or avoid clinging on to the fact that she was incredibly selfish in some instances, given she was living the life she chose, but at the end of the day, I felt like who was I to judge. We all know, the heart wants what it wants and sometimes that doesn't always equate to rational choices.

    The only other thing I’m going to say about this story,

    . Not only for a book that’s

    , one that will own you for the entire time it takes to read and most likely days, if not weeks after, but for a story that will leave you

    . Lucy and Gabe's journey is incredibly

    and what made it even a touch more powerful was reading the author’s acknowledgements—her candid admission that she started writing this book after going through a breakup of her own.

    This is an astonishingly beautiful and raw look at what drives most of us—finding that one person who leaves a permanent mark on our soul and the desire to always keep them close.

  • Susanne Strong

    One that connected them forever and no other relationship compared. It didn't matter that on that day when they were both in College, they shared a few intimate moments which Lucy thought were the beginning of a relationship and then Gabe decided to go back to his ex-girlfriend that same day. It didn't matter that over a year later, after they met agai

    One that connected them forever and no other relationship compared. It didn't matter that on that day when they were both in College, they shared a few intimate moments which Lucy thought were the beginning of a relationship and then Gabe decided to go back to his ex-girlfriend that same day. It didn't matter that over a year later, after they met again on her birthday (which happened to be the same night he broke up with said ex-girlfriend) and then started dating Lucy, that Gabe never once put Lucy first thereafter. Somehow, it was enough for her. Lucy felt that pull towards him. That need.

    He got her like no one else. He understood her. Her work, her drive... the important things in her life. And they shared everything - or so Lucy thought.

    His life's passion was photography. And then he got a job offer with the AP overseas - which he accepted without even talking it over with her.

    Though hesitant at first, Lucy enjoyed spending time with him. Darren was the first person who made her laugh after her breakup with Gabe. He took things slow and went out of his way for her. Though he pretty much always made decisions for her, like buying a puppy without consulting her or planning weekends away, she got used to it. He was after all, the sweetest guy ever. So, he didn't take her job seriously, or always think that the things she wanted were all that important, she couldn't have everything. In the end, though he wasn't Gabe and never would be, she loved him. In a different way, is all.

    On the day of the wedding however, after not having heard from Gabe in years, he called her. Because she was his Pegasus. And although she had her doubts, Lucy married Darren. Their life together was magical, and she loved her husband desperately.. yet something was missing. Thus she wonders, each and every day, if the decision she made was the right one. As her heart, her mind and her soul, missed a man who would never fully be hers. And she knows that she will wonder for the rest of her life, if the life she is living is the life that was meant for her; if she was supposed to be with Gabe, her soulmate, instead.

    I will admit however, that I had a bit of a hard time with the story of Gabe and Lucy at the start of this novel. I didn’t feel that their relationship was well established enough for me to be that invested in their love story or for me to believe that their connection was real or true. It may have in part been due to Gabe and his actions and/or reactions or the fact that most of the novel was spent focusing on Lucy and Darren (who, naturally, I didn't like), thus it was not until late into the novel that I “felt” something shift in their direction. The shift however, took place.. and when it did,

    Published on Goodreads and Amazon on 8.6.17.

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