NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

I'll Stay by Karen Day

"The unexamined life is not worth living. For your life and must learn about yourself."

Set in the 1980s and moving forward, this is a story about friendship and about mothers and daughters. A role in a relationship assumed and taken on, sometimes without little to no understanding about how it came to be. Intense emotional impact!

The best friends are Clare and Lee and the narrative is told in first person by Clare. The girls go with two other sorority sisters on a spring break trip, ending up in Florida, where a life -- and friendship -- changing event takes place when Lee say to a trio of young men, "Let her go, I'll stay." Traumatized emotionally by what occurred in Daytona, their relationship collapses and for many reasons, they never discuss it. Time goes by as Clare and Lee navigate their lives after college without ever confronting each other and they don't understand why each is broken inside until much later.

The story is profound, if a bit slow moving, as Clare examines her relationship with Lee and with her mother -- a needy and somewhat narcissitic famous author. The book written by the mother features prominently in the novel and only at the end does its true meaning become clear enough to help Clare figure out who she is. "Maybe there was a difference between saving people and taking care of them."

I don't usually read contemporary women's fiction, but I found this one very thought-provoking and enjoyed it much more than I expected. It would make a great book club selection because of all the issues and themes to discuss and debate. I'd recommend it!

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for this e-book ARC to read and review.

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