'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Thursday, 3 April 2014

REVIEW: The Best Thing I Never Had - Erin Lawless

The Best Thing I Never Had - Erin Lawless
The Best Thing I Never Had
Five years ago they’d been seven friends at university that laughed hard and loved harder.

Nicky and Miles, the couple that were always meant to be… Leigha and Adam, maybe not.

So when Harriet and Adam grew close, during those endless days in the library and too many seminars they (well, Adam) hadn’t prepared for, they did the one thing that changed everything. They kept a secret. And when it came out, it all fell apart.

When the day comes for bridesmaids to be chosen and best men to fulfil drunken promises, Nicky and Miles’ wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion – loaded with past hurts, past regrets, past loves…

The Best Thing I Never Had is in turns funny and sad, but always honest, about friendship in all its forms and the practicality of second chances.
*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thank you, Harper Impulse!*

Ohhhhh this book! I have SO MANY FEELS. I wasn't prepared for what this book did to me, I really wasn't. I'm not a big Contemporary reader but there was something about this book that grabbed onto me. I had to get myself a copy and I am so glad that I did (thank you, Amy!) The Best Thing I Never Had was made all the better by the fact that I haven't long graduated university. All of the events and behaviours which unfold are all so, so familiar and I found myself feeling incredibly nostalgic. I felt like I could related to every single one of the characters in different ways - there are not many books which are capable of doing that! Usually there's a character that you can easily distance yourself from, but this was definitely not the case with this one.

“Johnny appeared out of nowhere to save the day, reaching clumsily over Harriet’s head to punch the correct answer on the touch screen with just milliseconds to spare. Sukie exhaled in relief; she took her quiz machine investments very seriously; after all, £2 could be a small fortune to a student the wrong side of Reading Week.”

This book is packed to the brim with emotion and such real friendships. The ups and downs are portrayed beautifully, as are the after effects of falling in love with someone that you really shouldn't have. I felt so supportive of Harriet and constantly annoyed by Leigha. The seven characters are easy to picture; it's likely that we all have similar friends to those that are in this book. This just made the novel even better. It's hard to believe that this book is a debut! The events are so realistic and the portrayal of student life is perfect. The mess of emotions, the stress, the friendships that you think will last forever. Everything is so completely spot on. Harriet and Adam are English students, my kind of people! What was so nice was that you could imagine yourself fitting in with this group of friends; this mash of personalities that just work together. The silly routines that they kept were so familiar and so completely serious. It definitely drags up a lot of nostalgia.

“Yeah, but – its board game night, ‘The Game of Life’…” Harriet said, stupid with her share of the two jugs of Snakebite they’d imbibed already.

“Fuck ‘The Game of Life’,” Adam replied, with great delight, refilling their pint glasses with a clumsy slosh from the pitcher. “I always get the shit jobs anyway.”

The thing I loved was that this book projects so many moral questions. Would you go for someone that your best friend has crushed on for the longest time? If it happened to you, would you be able to then support your friend in that relationship? The way that the friendship transforms over a few revelations is shocking. It shows how brittle things can be. It's amazing how people that love each other so much can then project so much hatred at that person. The Best Thing I Never Had is so, so relatable. Everything that unfolds is something that we will have all been through at some point in our lives. I really cannot recommend this book enough. If you're not a big Contemporary reader, get your paws on this! It's definitely changed my mind.

If anyone can recommend me books similar to this one, I'm all ears! A fantastic, relatable, realistic and gripping read; I've definitely found myself a new favourite author! 

1 comment:

  1. I think I've seen this book before. If you loved it so much, I may just have to read it too! Great review. :D


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