Warning: Contains spoilers. If you want to read The Light We Lost but haven’t yet, do not continue reading this post. You’ve been warned.
Dude, it’s been a while since I did a book review. The last one I did was in the summer of 2018, when I reviewed Milk and Honey. 😮 I’ve read about a handful of books since then, and don’t recall why I didn’t write any reviews for them. I’m sure I had a lot going on back then, but I want to bring the book reviews back. Here we go!
I started reading Jill Santopolo’s The Light We Lost back in December and finished it in early February. I had it sitting in my “to read” book pile for a few months after I impulsively bought it at Barnes and Noble. While I was looking for something to read, I figured why not start this one? I’m such a sucker for love stories and was excited to see where this one would lead.
Overall, I thought the novel was pretty good. It started with the two main characters Lucy and Gabe meeting in college and falling in love not very long after. At first, I thought that their characters fell in love way too quickly, but after a while, I ended up really loving their relationship. If I’m being honest, Lucy is a pretty dull character, and I thought that Gabe put a lot of life in her and made her a bit more fun. I enjoyed the spontaneity of their relationship and how incredibly happy Gabe made Lucy.
There were moments though where I didn’t think Gabe was serious about being in a relationship with Lucy and that he just wanted to have sex with her. I had my doubts about him from the moment that he got back together with his ex after he and Lucy kissed for the first time at the beginning of the book. What made me realize that he maybe did love Lucy was when he told her that he was leaving for Iraq and started sobbing like a baby after he realized how much he hurt her.
It broke my heart how depressed Lucy was after Gabe left the country, and that’s when I started hating his character. I was so upset at him for making Lucy feel so sad. Like, come on, Gabe! If you really loved Lucy, why would you decide to move to the other side of the world without discussing it with her first? I’m getting all emotional thinking about it now!
Pretty much after that point in the book, I wasn’t as interested in the story anymore, and I felt like it dragged on a little longer than it should have. Eventually, Lucy meets Darren, the guy she ends up marrying later in the story, and I found his character to be quite boring, too. Although Darren was a great partner to Lucy, I low-key missed the spice that Lucy and Gabe had. At that point, though, they were barely even speaking anymore. Then after that, a great chunk of the book was about Lucy getting a writing job, marrying Darren, having kids, and all that.
There were times where Lucy and Gabe came into contact every so often, like every few years or so, and at that point, I was pretty much over Gabe already. What annoyed me the most about his character was that Lucy finally moved on and fell in love again after having her heart broken, but Gabe just kept coming back into the picture ruining things. I was annoyed because he decided to leave, so why was he trying to win her back now? She’s already moved on, got married, and has children, Gabe. Leave her alone!
As we were getting toward the end of the book, Lucy’s character started getting on my nerves, too. It was evident that she still had feelings for Gabe, and at that point, I thought it was disrespectful to her husband that she was thinking about another man like that, especially her ex-boyfriend. That was the main thing that turned me off about the book. I hate infidelity, and during the last half of the book, Lucy pretty much had an emotional affair (which turned into a physical affair) with her ex while she has a whole husband and children back home. Darren might have been a boring character in my eyes, but he definitely didn’t deserve to be cheated on like that. Not cool, Lucy!
At the end of the book, I had a wide range of emotions. I already knew Lucy was pregnant with Gabe’s baby, but I wanted to know what happened after that. Did she admit to Darren that the baby wasn’t his? Did she let Darren raise the baby, believing it was his? What happens with Lucy and Darren’s marriage?
I was also a little sad when Gabe died in the end. To be honest, I did suspect that his character was dead at one point by the way Lucy was narrating the story, but I was so drawn in the story that I didn’t think too much about it. Because I had that thought, Gabe’s death didn’t shock me as much as I wanted it to. It was still sad, don’t get me wrong. The most heartbreaking part was the fact that he died not knowing that he was going to be a father.
One final critique about the book is that I wish I would have gotten to know the other characters a little better. I found myself forgetting about and honestly not caring a lot about Lucy’s friends and her brother because they weren’t in the story as much. I felt like some scenes with her friends were just randomly thrown in there to remind readers that Lucy has other people in her life besides Gabe and Darren.
This was the first book that I’ve ever read by Jill Santopolo, and I would definitely read more of her books. The Light We Lost was a bit slow at times, but it definitely played with my emotions a lot, as you can probably tell! I had a pretty good experience reading it, and I’m looking forward to checking out what else this author has written.
If you’ve read the book, tell me what you think about it!