Before We Were Strangers, Renee Carlino

To the Green-eyed Lovebird: We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House. You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more. We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other. Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding… I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello. After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half? M

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:
We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.
You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.
We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.
Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…
I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.
After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?
M

Title: Before We Were Strangers

Author: Renee Carlino

Genre: Romance

Rating: 2 stars

Publisher: Atria Books


“I was static, standing on the platform, watching train after train go by, wishing I knew which one to be on.”

I have been trying to figure out exactly what I can say about this book. I hate writing low reviews, I really do. But sometimes it just is what it is.

In saying that, I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it either. Which is sad because I really, really wanted to love this book.

A few things in this book really bothered me, I had NO idea of when this book was happening. Throughout the whole thing, I just couldn’t get a place on a timeline. With only 15 years between the present and the past it felt to me as though the author had gone to far back. I know now after the mention of Jeff Buckley’s death that the past was in fact 1997, making the future 2012, but this book was released in 2015, so to me it just felt off.

Secondly I can’t stand miscommunication, so much time wasted over nothing. Really just have a conversation! This relationship was so back and forth, so on and off that it left my head spinning, and my eyes somewhere in the corner after they rolled out the back of my head.

Then we have our lead characters. Matt I liked enough to keep reading, although throughout part three of the book I did want to slap him. With the exception of a few situations where he was a dick I did like him as a whole. But Grace, I didn’t like, I found her flighty and indecisive. She was never comfortable enough to speak her mind and her decisions were flaky and disappointing. She needed to do more, fight more, be more. Her character was just weak.

Honestly, just the whole back and forth; I can’t be with you, but let’s make-out anyway, kinda thing. It was mind numbing. These two fight, but in the next sentence are spontaneously making out? I get it! You’re in love, but seriously? If you’re going to fight, then do that! Stop going from one extreme to the other, I’m getting readers whiplash here!

My last little peeve with this book was the language. Some parts just did not make sense. Now I have not read anything by Renee Carlino before so I can’t compare her work. But, can someone explain to me how you can pick someone up, have them straddle your waste, then set them on a chair, but still have them in your lap? It just doesn’t compute with me.

So yeah, I didn’t like the flow of this story, I didn’t particularly like the characters in this story. I saw the ‘twist’ -if you can call it that- coming from a mile away. I didn’t feel like there was enough of a follow through, and the ending was all tied up far to nicely for me as well. To many conflicts through out this book went unattended and their were no repercussions for certain characters (Elizabeth) Honestly for someone who could fight so passionately with the love of his life I’m surprised Matt let his ex-wife get away with the things she did. I did however like the context of this book. The idea itself was a good one. But books should leave you feeling full, satisfied. With this book I just felt frustrated. It’s a shame it wasn’t my taste.

“Everything seems better in a memory.”

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