Book Review: Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Before We Were Strangers
Author:  Renee Carlino
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 308 pages
R.R.P: $15
A missed connection. A second chance at love.
To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckely), photography (I couldn't stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Wahington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding...

I didn't see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn't know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me and now I've spent the better part of a month wondering what you life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?


My Review
Thoughts on the book:  I was lucky enough to be given an ARC copy of Before We Were Strangers from Simon and Schuster. I hadn't requested it and at the time had not heard too much about the author, Rene Carlino, or the book for that matter. The cover didn't really give to much away and didn't really draw me in too much (sorry but I found it a little boring), but upon turning the book over and reading the blurb I couldn't wait to get into it and read it right then and there. I mean come on who wouldn't be drawn in after reading a letter like that.

Before We Were Strangers is the ultimate love story of all time. It is told in both the past and the present by the two main characters, Matt and Grace. I felt that this was brilliant as we not only get two different views on how everything panned out but we also get a male and female voice so it isn't really one gender sided and will also appeal to a more wider audience as I believe Matt to be a bit of a manly man and a lot of men could properly identify with him. It tells the story of Matt and Grace who met at NYU and had a whirlwind relationship, that everyone secretly dreams about, before everything suddenly falls apart. Next thing we know 15 years have passed and both Matt and Grace have lived their lives seperate you and without any contact from the other. But of course with all great first loves they both still secretly harbour strong feelings for each other. Suddenly after a chance encounter they find that they have to deal with these feelings again and decide if they other is really their soul mate and if they are prepared to let certain things from the past stay in the past or come between them again.

This is a book for everyone who has ever believed in true love and finding your happily ever after with the bumps along the way. I can't wait to read more by Renee if they are all as good as this.

“And in that moment, you realize how little control you have over your own destiny. From the time you’re born, you have no control; you can’t choose your parents, and, unless you’re suicidal, you can’t choose your death. The only thing you can do is choose the person you love, be kind to others, and make your brutally short stint on earth as pleasant as possible.
Rating: 5/5