Makin’ this Lovin’ Twice as Nice… This is sort of like the mini-series of Monday book reviews since I’m doing two today. This is the second. I babbled in the first one so I can dive right into this one.
Stay by Kelly Mooney is a very depressing love story. I think I want to say I read it and it’s a bad book because it made me feel bad–but it is really really not a bad book, it’s a good book about a bad relationship. It’s horribly realistic and in being so it takes the shine and glory off of romance and love and makes you feel really uncomfortable because this isn’t the kind of love you dream about and want, it’s the kind of love story you have.
Maggie and Luke have been hearts and rainbows to one another since they were young’uns. Luke is one of Maggie’s older brother Jeremy’s musketeers and a constant fixture in her life; he’s her secret keeper, cheerleader and the person who mops up her tears. As the years meander by the steady friendship she needs from him never wavers. When Luke leaves for college, Maggie who is left by hard circumstances to remain home visits often and finally they become the lovers that the sweethearts were destined to be. They and everyone else knew it was inevitable and finally they had their happily ever after. Perfection.
Like a tear in reality Maggie rips apart their entire lives when she leaves suddenly in the middle of the night with only a letter to Luke and one to Jeremy as goodbye and answers. They never hear from her and don’t even know if she is living or dead. Luke is weighed down by the truths of what was in his letter and the secrets she left with him. Maggie has travelled place to place barely scraping by while running away from her old life. She thinks she has finally got a new beginning when she moves to NYC when Jeremy, Luke and Dean find her working one night at the strip club where she waitresses and she is faced with the fact that she can’t move forward without dealing with her past.
I read this book and I hated Maggie. She is that female character that you want to choke and then beg to stop making bad decisions and doing things wrong but when you stop and think about it–the only reason I would want her to chose the other decision would be in FICTION. If Maggie were my friend I would want her to do all the things she was doing in the book.
For instance… Maggie moves to New York City and she has really been living isolated from everyone since she left Luke and she has no friends. She meets Max who treats her well and takes care of her. They become close friends and then date and when they try to get physical and she bugs out he is completely sincere and understanding and sticks by her staying with her despite her inability to be intimate. When Luke and co. shows up out of nowhere and Maggie has told Max her history at home he is protective. When Her brother, Luke and Dean want to talk to her Max is concerned for her well being and he wants to know she is okay. But when you are reading this you start thinking Max is interfering. You read so much of Luke’s inner dialogue that you are thinking that of course it makes sense for Maggie, Jeremy, Luke and Dean to get together and work crap out and everything will be all peaches and cream. But, no. Really, if you were friends with someone and they told you crap went down back home and then family from back home showed up you would be like Max. And then it makes more sense for Maggie to stick with Max because Luke is a part of THE PAST and two years has passed by. You can’t just trade in people who have been with you in the now for ghosts from your past. Even if those ghosts were ones that you built your dreams with. Maggie is torn between her past and her present and the things that drive me crazy about her is her wrestling with those two things to come to a future. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.
I have a great deal of experience with the bad in relationships. There was a long period of time in my life where I think I shopped only at the Bad Boyfriends R’ Us located at the Bad Situations part of town. Luke may have been good boyfriend material early on but as you learn from about page eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve… Maggie has some major deal breaker issues and being a runner is one of those destroy myself and everyone with me things that self centered people can’t ever conceive. Years and years of torturing your loved ones is also pretty callous and selfish. Thinking that if you just leave the place that things are happening in that they won’t then affect anyone there is the kind of child-like thinking that makes kids pull covers over their heads to avoid monsters in the dark. You can’t pretend that if people don’t know your secrets they will forget you too. Playing games like that with people who love you will tear them apart and for no other reason than your own cowardice. (These are all things I have lived and learned so I can preach it and teach it)
All that said there is a lot to be said for accountability for yourself when you live in a world of crap. Luke is badly broken by the time they find Maggie and it’s not just her and her crap that gave him directions there because he really has had life altering devastation. The thing is a lot of people go through the same thing and don’t circle the drain. By the time he and Maggie meet up again they are toxic for one another and neither should be in a relationship. They are two people who are complete poison for healthy people and double for each other. It’s a poop pie synergism when they have so much baggage, disorders, trauma, tragedy, and bullshit they are lighting the world on fire and just letting it burn until it consumes everything and everyone around them.
I do recommend this book but for older readers. This is not a good self medicator title. It is a good story of a too true to life relationship between two people who really know how to screw up things really well.
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