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
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:328 pages

The Light We Lost Reviews

  • Lisa Aiello
    Mar 29, 2017

    I received an ARC of this through NetGalley for an honest review.

    And honestly, I am still trying to gather up the pieces of my heart. You know those books that break your heart and then mend it back together? Well, this one forgot about the mending part!! This is a story about chances and choices, karma and fate, the decisions we make when we come to a fork in the road. It is about trying to be okay with what we did choose, hoping we don't have to live with regrets. It is about being brave and s

    I received an ARC of this through NetGalley for an honest review.

    And honestly, I am still trying to gather up the pieces of my heart. You know those books that break your heart and then mend it back together? Well, this one forgot about the mending part!! This is a story about chances and choices, karma and fate, the decisions we make when we come to a fork in the road. It is about trying to be okay with what we did choose, hoping we don't have to live with regrets. It is about being brave and staying true to yourself. It was a sad story, but life often is. It was beautifully done!

  • Me_LissaH
    Mar 09, 2017

    Copy received from netgalley in exchange for an honest review

    On the one hand this was a romantic heart-wrenching beautiful story and I really enjoyed watching Lucy’s and Gabe’s journey, but on the other hand it left me in such a sad mood. That ending was so heartbreaking. This is the kind of story that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.

  • Cian O hAnnrachainn
    Apr 07, 2017

    I can't do this anymore. I have given up at page 145.

    What do we have but yet another young New Yorker examining the lint in her navel and imagining that it is fascinating for us all. The problems of a woman who falls madly in lust and thinks it's love is so small, so petty, that I cannot generate enough enthusiasm to continue.

    As usual, the prose if lovely. The sentences are put together nicely, the voice comes through clearly.

    It's the fecking story. It isn't strong enough to support an entire no

    I can't do this anymore. I have given up at page 145.

    What do we have but yet another young New Yorker examining the lint in her navel and imagining that it is fascinating for us all. The problems of a woman who falls madly in lust and thinks it's love is so small, so petty, that I cannot generate enough enthusiasm to continue.

    As usual, the prose if lovely. The sentences are put together nicely, the voice comes through clearly.

    It's the fecking story. It isn't strong enough to support an entire novel.

    Sure there are those who enjoy a soap opera, or those who are twenty-something elitists in New York who believe their problems have deep relevance to the world. I am not one of them. This is not a book for me.

    Sorry, Penguin Random House. You gave me the book for a review, but I can't finish it. I wouldn't inflict this on anyone I know because they like good books with substance. If you're wondering why book sales are down, well, you can start here.

  • Jeannie
    Jun 21, 2017

    This was hard to put down, I loved it!

  • Pouting Always
    May 18, 2017

    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.

  • Sara
    May 22, 2017

    I'm really struggling with where to begin with this book. Sometimes I wonder if its worse if a book is offensive or if its just totally forgettable. At least when something is offensive its inspiring some sort of emotional reaction out of me. Its asking me to think about what it is I'm finding offensive. Forgettable is just a waste of my time.

    I'm gonna go with offensively forgettable and call it even.

    Lucy and Gabe meet on September 11th. While not inherently offensive itself this is, perhaps, no

    I'm really struggling with where to begin with this book. Sometimes I wonder if its worse if a book is offensive or if its just totally forgettable. At least when something is offensive its inspiring some sort of emotional reaction out of me. Its asking me to think about what it is I'm finding offensive. Forgettable is just a waste of my time.

    I'm gonna go with offensively forgettable and call it even.

    Lucy and Gabe meet on September 11th. While not inherently offensive itself this is, perhaps, not the ideal way to start a sweeping romantic epic that I was informed by multiple advertisements was going to be part

    and part

    .

    All that says to me is someone's gonna be dead before this is over.

    So right, 9/11 is happening, the sky is on fire, people are throwing themselves off buildings, the world is literally shifting on its axis, and Gabe wants to take Lucy to the roof of his dorm because "its the most incredible view of New York City you'll ever see."

    Riiiiggghhhhtttt.

    That was page nine and it never got any better. I don't even want to waste time on a review for this because it doesn't deserve one. Its such a thoughtless, sorry excuse for a meaningful contribution to women's fiction I honestly don't even want to bother.

    Yeah, yeah I know who am I kidding?

    But for real there is nothing to care about here. Lucy and Gabe have no personalities beyond this very teenage yearning to "change the world" and "make a difference" but they have all the depth of characters in a tooth paste ad. For Gabe making a difference is becoming a war photographer which he becomes with literally no effort. For Lucy its becoming a producer of children's television where having gotten a job no problem she does groundbreaking work developing a show that sounds just like every other show ever made. Everything they "accomplish" is treated like they're the very first people to ever take war photographs or produce TV shows. They both become incredibly famous and amazing and everyone loves them but somehow it all still sucks for reasons that aren't so much unclear as they are really boring and stupid.

    These people aren't real people. They're like sitcom versions of real people. Their deep and amazing relationship boils down to really liking to have sex because honestly? That's all they do. For the five months their initial relationship lasts they have lots and lots of mind blowing sex interrupted only by the elaborate staging of insanely romantic dates that sound like they're out of a 12 year old girls fantasies about what a grown up relationship is. You get to have SEX when you're a grown up! GASP!

    The so called conflict arises because Gabe wants to take pictures of war things after being inspired by, you guessed it, the 'Afghan Girl.' The guy who took the picture TOTALLY sets him up with a job at the AP (that's the ASSOCIATED PRESS you guys! It's a super big, huge deal!!!) and even though they've agreed that "your dreams are not disposable" (whatever the hell that means in actual human talk) Lucy is grief stricken that Gabe has taken the job without checking with her first and they break up? I don't know. For some reason his having a job that means he'll be away sometimes is a deal breaker for both of them.

    So they break up and their lives continue to be amazing and successful but they're not happy because they just love each other so much.

    I seriously kept kind of picturing a preteen girl lying on her bed writing out her "dream boyfriend" list; he's an artist! he has curly hair! his eyes are "deep"! he's super hawwtt! all the things she thinks of when she imagines her perfect, amazing life when she grows up that have no foundation in reality because she has no idea what actually goes into doing things like getting a job or having a relationship.

    There's a scene in the beginning where they're in Shakespeare class together and Lucy's bowled over by Gabe's otherworldly ability to "see the beauty in Shakespeare's language and imagery." I'm being serious. This is presented as if no one in the history of the universe has ever expressed the idea that Shakespeare's language use was beautiful.

    Lucy isn't any better. She eventually marries a really nice guy who has the audacity to not be Gabe and do things like plan a surprise trip to Paris for her because he knows its on her bucket list but how dare he not know she wanted to book the tickets herself. Gabe understood her. She could bounce her brilliant script ideas off Gabe! Like should she change the gender of the character who wants to be an astronaut? Cause girls can be astronauts too! Gabe would think that was revolutionary! Gender swapping!!! Hand her an Emmy! (which someone does because that's what we're dealing with here).

    Turns out Jill Santopolo is the editorial director of an imprint of Penguin Putnam, the publisher of this book, so I don't think its insane to suggest this book was not published entirely based on literary merits and honestly? If I was in her position I can't say I wouldn't do the same thing. I'm sure she's worked very hard to get where she is and if you have the opportunity to publish your book, if that's your dream, who am I to say its "disposable."

    (Again, whatever that means).

  • Laura
    Jun 13, 2017

    4.5 Stars

    I can’t explain the pull this book had on me—not even to myself. It felt like this book found me. By the description, this book does NOT sound like a “Laura”

    4.5 Stars

    I can’t explain the pull this book had on me—not even to myself. It felt like this book found me. By the description, this book does NOT sound like a “Laura” book at all. But I knew the very first time I saw it I had to read it. The color of the cover, the couple’s silhouette slowly flying away latched on to something in me. And when I found out it takes place on September 11th, I knew. I knew this book had to be a part of my reading world.

    The Light We Lost tells a story of love and loss and decisions and events that shape our lives. The little every day events and the big, your-life-will-never-be-the-same events can influence our choices and direction in career paths, family, and love. This journey not only starts on September 11th, but it also shows the role and long lasting influence that day had on all of us. Where were you on September 11th? Gabe and Lucy were in New York on that clear, blue, blue, not a cloud in the sky September day. Two students filled with passion and dreams watched as New York’s skyline was altered forever. Gabe and Lucy met, sparked a light in each other, and became an important part of their lives from that day forward. They shared a day together that changed them forever. I felt their passion and energy and need to make a mark on the world. Both Gabe and Lucy wanted to make a difference, but that same dream and need would pull them in separate directions. Can love and ambition live side by side? Do you have to sacrifice one for the other? That is just one of many questions this book poses as Gabe and Lucy’s story unfolds.

    This beautiful book unfolds and comes to life in such vivid color. The short chapters say and share so much—share a life with us. I could see these people and places. From their bar in Manhattan, to their apartments, to their hearts. I could and still can see and feel them in my own heart and mind. When I look back, I can see and remember how much September 11th changed my life in dark and hopeful ways. It made me want to live for the moment. Do it now! I wanted to change and do things I’d never done. Start a new career path, settle down, hit the road, and fall in love all at once! So I really enjoyed hearing Lucy’s story. Her voice was blunt, beautiful, moving, and romantic. It felt honest to me. Isn’t it funny what time and our memory can do to certain events and people though? I’m not going to lie—Lucy came off as privileged and selfish and just a woman I could not identify with at times. But yet I loved watching her life change and grow over the years. Her voice was captivating. Her voice rang true.

    So much of what Lucy said and experienced found a home in my heart and hidden away pockets of lost hopes and dreams. Lucy and Gabe and all the characters will have you pondering what-ifs and cataloging your own could-have-beens in life. This powerful story will put a brand new crack in your heart.

    Hold on to the love and light you find in this world. It is a rare and powerful thing. September 11, 2001 taught me that. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo reiterated that lesson with huge love. Love in all its beautiful forms can be found in life and this story. Hope you sit down and listen to Lucy’s story.

    Highly recommended.

  • emma
    Jun 02, 2017

    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 t

    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"]>

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