“But speechless was our love, and with veils has it been veiled. Yet now it cries aloud unto you, and would stand revealed before you. And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” – Kahlil Gibran
Praising a book I’ve loved isn’t really so hard for me. The hard part is knowing exactly how and where to start, and never before have I been in a situation where I’ve felt I have an unfair advantage because my thoughts and feelings about the book have been, not influenced or altered by the author, but have been supported and enlightened by the rare opportunity I had to discuss with her the characters and their motivations, as well as being able to ask why she chose to write the ending the way she did.
Don’t Let Me Go is a book that required a lot of hand-holding for me, for which I owe a huge thank you to Isabel, who cheered me on and talked me off the ledge when I thought the vice grip around my heart was going to cause the poor pitiful thing to burst like an overinflated balloon.
This is not an easy story to get through. There is angst and conflict, heartbreak and hope, anger and betrayal, misunderstanding and hurt, damnation and redemption, destruction and recovery, judgment and forgiveness and finally, healing. Nate Schaper and Adam Jeffries’ love is tested by a brutal crime, a crime which I discovered was loosely based upon an actual hate crime with far more tragic results, and though that love withstands the horrific aftermath of that violence, it survives only to be tested again and again, by bitter regret and insecurity, by a distance of miles that causes a distancing of emotions, by a blatant manipulation that severs what should’ve been an unbreakable bond, and in the end, by a misguided farewell that eviscerates their relationship and leaves it hemorrhaging its lifeblood all over a future that never had a chance to become.
Nate and Adam were a couple for the ages, a love story to end all love stories, until a chapter of their romance rewrote itself and rather than happily-ever-after, they became yet another tragic ending, overwhelmed by the weight of expectations and the burden of miscommunication. Where there ought to have been trust there was doubt and where that doubt was allowed to fester, it thrived, and just when it seemed they’d put paid to all the misunderstandings, Nate himself put the final exclamation point on how far adrift he and Adam had gone.
But where there is love, there is also the opportunity for salvation, and there is a point where letting go is all you can do in order to gain a new fingerhold on your life and to claw your way up from the abyss that had once been bridged by your faith in forever. This is a story where letting go doesn’t mean giving up; it means surrendering to the knowledge that you can’t change what has been but you can influence what is to come by embracing that faith once again, by owning the mistakes that’ve been made, and by seeking forgiveness for them at the same time. It is the knowledge that there is a pattern to every life and in order to see the picture completed, there are lines that must be connected from the past to the present, connections that had been broken that must be closed, things that had been left undone, words left unspoken.
This is a story of the strength of friendships and the immeasurable gift of unconditional support that’s not given to you for any other reason than kindness, compassion, and good still exists in the world. It is a story about not only growing up but also growing out and evolving and becoming the someone you need to be to find the peace you need to thrive.
I’m going to be perfectly honest—there are elements in this book that took me some time to wrap my head around in order to be able to accept them, but everything that happens to Nate and Adam along the way does happen for a reason. For these two young men, there truly is a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate—every challenge they face has its purpose, even though it’s sometimes difficult to decipher and accept. Threaded through every fairy tale, there is a necessary evil. Woven into every hero’s journey there is an essential conflict. If there is no challenge to face, no dragon to slay, no obstacle to overcome, then there is no reward to be gained in the end, because there was never any danger of losing that which meant everything to you, that defines the very heart and soul of you, and that needs protecting in order for it to remain the touchstone of your existence.
I had myself prepared for a variety of different outcomes before this story ended, but I’m happiest with the one I got, though part of me wishes it never had to end at all. This is a story and these are characters I’ll not soon forget and may even revisit again someday if I’m brave enough to go through it all over again.
Buy Don’t Let Me Go HERE.