Love Remembered is the true story of the events between Anne Staschiak and Sam Phillips. Anne checks her mail one day and, amongst other things, she finds a message from an old (boy)friend from school, Sam Phillips. Later, she mentions it to her daughter and is compelled to tell the story of her former relationship with Sam and how a man she knows little about now had such a big influence on her when they were both so young. They met when bowling in their teenage years. He had offered to give her tips on her technique and, from there, they grew to be good friends and even lovers. Later, once their relationship ended, they grew apart and did not see each other again for almost five decades. This book is about both versions of their relationship.
I won a copy of this book through Goodreads and received it in the mail yesterday. As soon as I opened the package, I began reading it and, despite receiving a free copy, these are just my honest thoughts and I hope that I do not offend anyone! Being that it's a true story, I don't think I'm really able to view it in the same light as I would a fiction.
As mentioned above, Anne reminisces to her daughter about the relationship she and Sam shared as youths. However, it's not so much about Sam's portion of these events as the entire book is mostly told from her perspective, with little input from Sam's. It's not so much about their story, it's mostly about her's. At various points in the overall story, people have ill feelings towards the relationship and most of these people are made to look kind of nasty because of it. The thing is, these people all do have valid reasons for not approving of the relationship, such as Anne's mother and Aunt who were very concerned for the girl's well-being and future. Elaine, one of Sam's daughters, even though she has some valid concerns as well. The authors make special note of her chastising one of her own children, with what seems like more of an attempt to make her seem like kind of a jerk. In fact, it just seems like Anne and her own children are the only ones who don't suffer from the same treatment. Many times, even Sam is made to look awful, both in the past and present of the book, just because Anne doesn't understand the reasons for his actions. Their spouses are both made to look bad as well, though they might have both had valid reasons for their actions. Both not being in the picture, they both get bad-mouthed without being able to defend themselves. Sure, I understand that is what they might have really been like, but there's just not enough explanation to their actions.
I'd like to touch on the actual writing of the book for a few moments. Some sentences don't actually make sense. Another point is that the editing is a bit odd in some areas where some sentences are deliberately pushed onto the next paragraph mid-sentence, for what seems like no reason. The actual writing is a bit awkward as well. It's not written brilliantly well. Their relationship, though it is easy enough to understand in writing, is something I don't quite understand very well at all. From what they say, they obviously have/ had all sorts of feelings for each other, though when I read it, I don't actually feel any of these emotions through the writing. The entire book seems quite one-note and I just can't seem to find any of these emotions that they're meant to be feeling for each other. When she first discovers her feelings for him, it doesn't feel as if she's experiencing these things. The same with her curiosity of their relationship, fears of being pregnant, worries about a seeing him again after such a long time... Despite being a true story, none of any of it seems genuine to me. The writing doesn't properly convey the emotion and sadly, the book kind of suffers because of that.
Honestly, I'm kind of disappointed. I was expecting a hugely monumental book; especially considering that they're meant to be each other's true love with a relationship that spans decades. Yet, the writing doesn't properly convey such a thing. The book tells mostly her story, yet very little of his. The majority of the characters, save for Anne and her children, are made to look like antagonists because she doesn't understand their concerns. Overall, I'm not very pleased with the book. I would rate it only two stars because the story wasn't very well told, but I'll prop it up to three because, in the end it was kind of mediocre rather than awful.