Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Love of My Youth; Mary Gordon


Title: The Love of My Youth
Author: Mary Gordon
Publication Year: 2011 (April)
Publisher: Random House
Edition: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 3/21/2011
Setting: Rome (mostly)
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Recommend: Yes

Have you ever wondered about that old flame you had in high school or college? The person, who at least at that time, you imagined you'd build a life with.  We all know that sometimes, even the best plans don't turn out the way we hoped.  Such was the case for Miranda and Adam, first loves from high school.

In The Love of My Youth, Miranda and Adam experienced the highs of first love which continued throughout college. Adam was a gifted musician (pianist) and Miranda committed to political activism and social awareness.  After college, their passion and optimism took the couple to Rome where they set up housekeeping briefly, but soon after, their relationship ended on a bad note, on June 23, 1971.  Each of them eventually moved on, and they married other people,  raised families, and had careers.

Now, some (36) years later, October 7, 2007, Miranda and Adam, have the opportunity to meet once again in Rome. Both are there for different reasons, and they are invited by an old college friend to dinner. Uncomfortable about the situation, yet curious as well, they accept the dinner invitation, and for the next (24) days the Miranda and Adam spend time together each day. They meet for daily walks, talks, lunches, visit gardens, museums and other sites where the couple had been decades before.  Each day more a bit more is revealed about their lives, and each of them reflects privately on their past relationship, and about each other.  On day number (3) of their time together, Miranda and Adam reflect about the time spent together,
"The day before had been a disappointment to the both of them; each had found the other wanting; both telephoned their spouses, flush with the pleasure of being able to speak critically, yet truthfully: to make the point that really, there was no danger. 'I'd forgotten what a pedant he could be,' she told her husband. 'What did we do in the days before we could invoke the term 'politically correct'? he asked his wife."
Throughout the next (21) days, each time they meet the explore their past together, their past apart, and they examine what it all means. It is through this examination of their past, their dreams and disappointments, where they've been and who they've become, that each is able to find peace.

Although the majority of this novel is about Miranda and Adam in October of 2007, there are a few flashbacks to their time together in the late 1960s and early 1970s, that enable the reader to see the differences in background and ideologies, that young lovers might well gloss over.

I really enjoyed this novel, and thought the author did an amazing job developing the characters, and of creating a memorable story. This is one novel that should especially appeal to the baby boomer generation.

28 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lovely, relaxing book - just right for holidays!

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  2. This book sounds so interesting. Adding it on my wishlist.
    Thanks for the review.

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  3. I'm not sure why I feel drawn to this book. I didn't have a high school or even a college love that I left behind. I think I like the image of peeling off layers of the past. Thanks.

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  4. It's on my TBR list and now I'll move it a bit closer to the top. Your review told me what I wanted to know. Thanks, Diane!

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  5. This sounds like it would make you sit back and reflect. I love the cover too.

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  6. I often consider what would have happened if the one that got away hadn't, and what that would mean to my life, so this book sounds like something that I would really like to read. I can say that I am much happier now than I have ever been in my life, so at least that gives me comfort!

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  7. Sounds wonderful, Diane. Thanks for telling me about it!

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  8. It sounds like an enjoyable book. New addition to my TBR! Thanks you! :)

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  9. I love a book with great character development. This sounds like my kind of book. Great review. I'm going to have to add this to my ever growing wish list.

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  10. I agree, sounds like a good read and the cover is beautiful!

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  11. stopping by to read what you got. that review sounds interesting.

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  12. When did you change your blog layout? I read through my reader sometimes and don't click over but today I did. It looks great!

    This book sounds interesting. I am intrigued by the idea of revisiting a romance from high school. I often wonder if those years were special because it was high school or because of the person you were with that made it special.

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  13. Nice review. Now I want to read this. Boomer generation, that's me.

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  14. It's been a long time since I read a Mary Gordon novel, but this one sounds good. I like her style and the theme is a good one.

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  15. This one sounds so lovely! I like the expression of the love of my youth a lot too. I'm adding it to the list!

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  16. This sounds great! Another one to add to my list. :)

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  17. What I find interesting in your review is your statement about different backgrounds and how young people tend to gloss them over. I think that is so true - I can see it in my own daughters' failed marriages.Sounds like a most interesting book, Diane, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  18. Diane, this sounds like an interesting premise for a book. With facebook many people are now in touch with former flames, and probably wonder, what if. . . .

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  19. What a fascinating topic for a novel! It sounds really good. I happened to have heard from several old boyfriends recently on facebook, so this is very interesting to me! It's a weird dynamic, suddenly after 25 years chatting with someone you were once very close to. I may have to add this one to my list, even though my list is way too long!

    Sue

    PS Though I was admiring the new look of your blog at first, I found it difficult to read the white type on black background through a whole review. Just FYI.

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  20. At this rate I am going to have a very long list of great books to read. Great book review, thank you :)

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  21. I love this idea for a novel. Who doesn't wonder about past loves like this?

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  22. His Name is Ron Martineli. We were high school sweet hearts, but he had a lot of issues to work out so we parted. I still wonder what happened to him. Sigh..
    Love the new look! I want to plop down on the deck chair and read this book.

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  23. From your review, it sounds like they didn't have an affair. Just that makes this a different book from most. I like the idea of them talking and working out why they aren't together.
    Great, great blog header. Is that where you live???
    PS my high school boyfriend still lives in the next town over where we both grew up, and Tom's first girlfriend lives just down the road from us. ;<)

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  24. Great review! I hadn't heard of this one before but it sounds really good

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  25. I didn't know Mary Gordon had a new book coming out. I've read a couple of her books and liked them. This sounds good. Will have to look for it.

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  26. I have an old ex-fiance from high school/college days. He friended me on Facebook and then after a while I just blocked him. But I'm still interested in reading the story of the characters in this book!!

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  27. Thanks for the review, Diane! I like the sound of this one and adding it to my list.

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