With only five days left, in the month of June, I figured I should probably go ahead and talk about our June book. First of all, I have to say that I loved this book a lot. I first fell in love with Leah Stewart’s writing style when Harper Collins mailed me a review copy of Leah’s newest publication Husband & Wife. I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of her before, i felt like the way she painted words was exactly what my reader heart had been searching for. In the Myth of You & Me, I found myself wanting to highlight paragraphs and sentences which had a way of making my spirit hum. Wrapping up this novel, at 1:45 a.m. left me feeling inspired and electric. I spent 276 pages having absolutely no idea how resolution would come. As I read, waiting to find out what happened those 8 years before, between Sonia and Cameron, I found myself fearful that it would be some sort of a let down, even though I couldn’t fathom what had torn them apart.
Here is what I deeply love about the two Leah Stewart books I’ve read: Redemption. She deals with flawed people, deeply interwoven relationships and working past all of that. The people in her stories may be betrayed, but in the end they’ve worked through it and been better off for it. I am a firm believe in that being exactly how life SHOULD be…
Pulling a few questions from the Reader’s Guide, if you read the book I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions… :
1} How would you describe the relationship between Oliver and Cameron? Is it purely a familial one or are there romantic undertones?
2} Why does Oliver force Cameron to seek out Sonia?
3} How are Cameron and Sonia shaped by their relationships with their parents?
4} Do YOU think what Sonia did to end her friendship with Cameron was forgiveable? Why? Why do you think she did it? Is what Cameron did in response, forgivable?
5} Which of the two friends do you sympathize with more? Why?
6} What kind of relationship do you imagine Cameron and Sonia had after the end of the book?
Two things, being the word-lover that I am, that I absolutely loved about this book were on page 205 When Sonia told Cameron that she was a dreamer who didn’t believe in the dream and on page 204, the last paragraph: All at once it strikes me that as well as I know Sonia, I know only one version of her- that all you know of a life are the places where it touches your own. Under the fluorescent lights of the waiting room I’m catching a glimpse of the places where I don’t exist. It’s strange and diminishing, like looking through a telescope at the stars.
I love relationships. I love the connections that mingle between people, and the unique things they share. I love writing them, I think I love reading them a little more. LS writes amazing relationships.
In response to the guide questions- i think that the relationship between cameron and oliver was clouded. More familial, but as with many mentorships, there is a thread of romanticism which strings between the individuals. Every true romance involves some sort of heroship, and that is certainly an element in mentorship as well. True romance isn’t about sex, but about a sort of selfless form of becoming, adapting if you will, to become someone because of someone else. It isn’t about being untrue to yourself, but learning of who you are with and because of that other person. Cameron’s very routine was to care for and be with Oliver, in whatever capacity he needed at that moment. She was content to be whatever he needed her to be and it honestly doesn’t get more romantic than that.
I believe it’s possible that Oliver knew Cameron better than anyone else ever had. I am sure that he knew she would do this one thing for him, (the pursuit of Sonia) and he knew that the entire ordeal between the two girls was what stood in the way of Cameron truly living her life. I like to think that, prior to Sonia’s letter, Oliver lost many hours to trying to decipher what must have happened to make this girl he loved like his own child, to make her so detached.
Sonia seemed to seek approval from anyone around her, and yet love the few she truly “let in” intensely. That traces perfectly back to the lack of love or kindness from her mother and the devotion of her father. At the same time though, Sonia is evident to not being much of a fighter. She doesn’t ever fight for herself. She seems to just drift and accept that she just isn’t very worthy. I would guess this would be the blame of both of her parents. While her dad loved her, he never protected or defended her. As much as she loved both of her parents, this way of raising her only told her she wasn’t worth fighting for.*
In the same way, Cameron grew up in a detached way of living. She was raised to run, whether things were working out well or not. During the one portion where her dad was teasing her about the photos of will and she got upset, he just grew defensive and retreated. Her life portrayed this in her decisions. Sonia had seemed to be the only thing which grounded Cameron and provided her with a sort of “home base”, and then she realized that going against her instinct to run had only hurt her- she became determined NOT to be a repeat offender… Well, until Oliver.
I do think what Sonia did, could be forgivable. Sonia was right though, she didn’t do it alone. Owen was also to blame. Sonia’s actions were impulsive. In both instances, clear thinking was no present- once due to grief and once due to alcohol. Not that these are excuses, BUT with the depth of Cameron and Sonia’s friendship- there is a certain element of it (Owen being some sort of extension from Cameron) which makes sense. Wrong is wrong, and this was wrong BUT what Cameron did was worse. It was calculating and wicked. It was meditated and clearly thought out- It was an act created to crush Sonia’s spirit and break her heart. The last person in the world Sonia had ever intended to hurt was Cameron, but she realized that her decisions had. Cameron’s gut reaction was to hurt Sonia, and hurt her badly.
I imagine them having a friendship which was reborn and continued to grow. Oliver, through this journey, had taught Cameron that running wasn’t really working as well as she had thought. That time period, 8 years prior to our view of their story had stunted her in bitterness and this journey had helped her to let that go and see things as they truly were. Cameron had been looking at Sonia though eyes which seldom focussed on the truth. Often time her soul’s eyes were filtered through jealousy or pity. it had been that way for several years. I do believe they were able to have a different, less co-dependent sort of friendship. One which came naturally to them, and added to the beauty in their lives but wasn’t the focus of their lives…