I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
In SO WE SAID GOOD BYE by Rama Marinov-Cohen, high school sweethearts Aya and Yaron reconnect after thirty years apart. It plays on the “what if” aspect that — let’s face it — everyone with a first or lost love thinks about from time to time. No matter how happy you are or how good of a life you have, you always “what if?” It’s human nature. This book played up the theme in an ever evolving story of past memories colliding with present lives.
At first glance, the cover really intrigued me. The woman is looking forward into the future but also tied to time/the past. It’s hard to let go — no matter how many years pass. There’s always going to be that one person that you’ll think of always as your first love. Maybe you’re still together, maybe you’re not, but “what if” and “what could have been” probably played in your mind at least once…it did for Aya and Yaron.
Narrated in the first person and alternating between Aya and Yaron, I liked the breathless, almost frantic style of Aya’s chapters. The sentences were short, sometimes choppy, verging on stream of consciousness. Internally, she held back nothing regarding her excitement, fear, uncertainty, and back to excitement at contacting Yaron after twenty-eight years. Externally, it was business as usual. She went on with her daily life and responsibilities but there was a new guardedness around answering her husband’s questions. She had a secret but he wasn’t in on it. In his chapters, Yaron was reflective, almost shocked, that it had been twenty eight years since he last saw/spoke to Aya. He could look back with the maturity of age and time and see what went wrong (and what went right). I felt the dual narration made SO WE SAID GOOD BYE much stronger than it would have been with just one point of view. Aya’s breathless mental zipping around may have gotten annoying if not tapered with Yaron’s calm, steadiness. I liked the contrast. By the time I finished reading the book, I felt like I knew these people. They jumped off the page. I identified with Aya and Yaron. I think anyone who wonders “what if” can.