Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stay by Deb Caletti

This is a haunting story filled with the ghosts of past wrongs and obsession that threaten to destroy the main character (not the scary kind of ghosts - but those are mentioned). Although slow in some parts, it has a poetic message about letting go and forgiveness.

This story takes place at two different times in Clara's life. There's her present life which deals with the aftermath of her recent past. In her present life she and her father are on vacation by the sea, hiding out from the troubles of their recent past. Clara's trying to have a normal summer, with a job at a lighthouse with her cranky boss and a developing crush on a sailor on top of her father's own blossoming romance. The only problem is she can't seem to escape the ghosts of her recent past. Christian had been her soul mate. When she met him she knew they were meant to be together and pursued him. Things were wonderful until he started to get clingy and jealous - downright obsessed with Clara. She'd been doing so much to keep him happy, she didn't know who she was anymore and then it got to the point that Clara and her father needed to escape (which brings us back to the present story and their vacation).

This novel starts off really choppy and slow. The chapters alternate between her vacation life and flashbacks to her relationship with Christian. Once the switching back and forth stops, the story really begins to flow. Later on there's another flashback chapter but it has a smoother transition. As I read the flashback chapters, I felt like the author was trying to show the relationship rather than simply tell the reader what happened, but a huge chunk of those chapters still felt like telling because she was summing up portions of their relationship. You could see where it was all going, but I felt it could have been done differently - then again, that's just a person preference seeing how I've never been a big fan of books that flit back and forth between time periods.

This book puts a lot of meaning behind different situations. It's not just telling a story but placing importance on all things that happens. It's a lot deeper than most fiction. If you're just looking for simply a story to read, you might find the moments of reflection distracting and tiresome, but this book has a greater purpose. It was a really good read - once it got a handle on the appropriate flow of storytelling. The characters are great - you feel for Clara, you're creeped out by Christian, and you're intrigued by the supporting characters. Each one has layers and secrets and ghosts. In the end, it was an enjoyable read.

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