When We Were Alive
When we first meet Bobby, he is a shy, twelve-year-old magician who falls in love with his best friend.
William is consumed with self-hate and drinks to escape the memories of his father’s sadness and his mother’s death.
Myles is writing letters to a mother he has never met.
Three different people from three different times each explore the dark side of relationships, search for beauty in sadness and try to bear the burden of guilt from living in a world we are powerless to fix.
I really struggled to continue with this book…the three individual stories seemed disconnected and not even particularly interesting until about 80% of the way through the book. But I persevered. I thought I understood where this was going…or rather where the stories were meeting but really I didn’t. The ending was so sad. I wondered why I continued with this, hopeful I suppose.
I enjoyed the story of the enduring love between Bobby and Rose. The war narrative was painful and real.
William’s anger was understandable – his attempt to feel were interesting and reminded me of the lives of so many damaged children in care, self-harming in an attempt to feel something, to feel anything, to distract themselves from the realities of their lives.
But mostly these individual stories remained just that, I am at a loss to understand the overall picture. If you understand this book – perhaps you can share that knowledge with me.