Book Review - Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
I love many books but this book has changed my life!
Life is a strong drink served up in an extremely short - and fragile - shot glass. Jonathan didn't waste a single drop, neither should we.
I close the final page of the book and sat there wide eyed in utter silence for what seemed to be hours - in fact was only minutes, before I quickly went back and re read the last chapter.
It’s now been a year since I read Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto and I’ve only just worked up the courage to do a review.
This is a story about eternal love, life and how both of those are entwined with time.
Shelley has lost the love of her life, her husband of three years Max and even a year after the fact she is no closer to moving on then she was the moment it happened. Time for Shelly has stopped, for life without Max is still unimaginable.
That is until a knock on her door, where she finds her self face to face with Paolo. Paolo is the spitting image of Max only a few years younger. Paolo shows Shelly a series of photos from his childhood, photos of him and his bearded grandfather. As Paolo ages throughout the photos his grandfather seems to remain the same. His grandfather is actually Max, who Paolo still believes to be alive.
In utter shock and disbelief Shelly agrees to go with Paolo to find Max, all while sharing with him how her and Max met.
To say I loved this book would be an understatement. I love many books but this book has changed my life!
There will be two types of readers of this book the once that read the story for what it is and those that just GET IT!.
If we accept time for what it is, how it flows and how we flow with it, I doubt very much that we would continue wasting loads of it by constantly checking our watches. The gnomon's shadow falls where it falls - and so do we. Where we are now is where a lifetimes's worth of steps have taken us. Are we early for this moment: Are we late? should we hurry back to the town house because your watch says so or should we linger as long as we can in the seconds where we stand?
To GET IT, you would have to have experienced life! You need to have experienced it’s highs and it’s lows to truly feel this book.
The story is full of symbology and depth - ok yes it had a lot of analogies, an Elephant and a lego tower and yes Max said 'luv' too many times and NO the chickens and eggs didn't bind the story together. But the one thing that jumped at me is the poetic description of time and it’s passing.
If you have ever loved anyone and truly experienced when that love was at it's brink of being taken away, only then can you truly appreciate the sense of this book and it's message. That message in fact is time..... It is the reality that time waits for no one, you are either in the NOW or you have missed it altogether.
Old Abbot Thomas: you may see this as decay, and it is. But it is also much more then that. As the body rots, so does the cage that traps us in our worldly concerns. When my legs became too weak to carry my body, I stopped pacing with worry. When my fingers became twisted, I stopped pointing blame. When I lost my sight, I stopped seeing illusions. It may be dark in the pot that I am simmering in, but I can see more clearly then I have ever seen in my life
Through the love story of Shelly and Max we are shown with different types of love and the effect time has on it. The love of a father and daughter, grandfather and grandson, husband and wife, where loss of each is just as painful as the other. Where time doesn’t heal everything and death doesn’t erase it either.
Shelley: Most people promise each other forever when they get married. Max and I promised each other 'Now'." Paolo: "Why?" Shelley: "Because it's breakable and the only thing you can really hold in your hands. It's where the gnomon's shadow falls on the sundial. Back then I thought it was romantic." Paolo: "and now?" Shelley: "Now I realise that it was the only promise Max could make.
Dex talking to Shelley - Dex: I know that the time will come when her voice won't be as crystal clear in my head, but even then every detail has dulled, I know that I'll always have something that not even time can take away. Pain" Shelley: "And that's a good thing?" Dex: "Yes, because when I've forgotten everything else, I'll feel that ache... that tightness in my throat.... that heaviness in my chest.... and know that I loved a woman once and she loved me back. It's proof that I existed and so did she
The most profound quote of the book takes me back to my very own experience of moving away from Bosnia as a child. I find this quote rings so true for my parents that when I read it I honestly wanted to meet Samantha and tell her “Thank you” in person.
Telling the story about Uris case of homesickness -
Shelley: How could coming home make things worse?" Max: "You can't return to a place that no longer exists, luv
Time has passed people have moved on what you left behind will never be the same even if you find your self back home again, because truly all we have is the NOW.
Once you finish the book then go to Samantha's home page and sign up for an extended version of the ending….. and consider your self lucky, when I finished the book I spent hours online to see what other people thought the ending meant ;)
This book is a must read - in fact this book is a must re-read as well!
Published by Broadway Paperbacks.