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Thursday, February 2, 2012

You Lost Me There Review and Discussion

You Lost Me There

by Rosecrans Baldwin  

genre: fiction




You Lost Me There peers into the life and memories of an Alzheimer's research scientist, Victor after he has lost his wife.  Victor finds his life proceeding on a collision course with his grief.  As he attempts to make sense of the marriage he had and the future he's looking for, he discovers papers written by his late wife delving into her feelings about the marriage and how it had proceeded over its course.  Rosecrans Baldwin explores the realm of perception and skillfully reveals that what one person experiences can be all too opposite of another in the very same situation.

I enjoyed this book and at one point found myself unable to put it down.  I felt a sort of sympathetic frustration for the lead character and his inability to truly take control of his life.  When he discovers his wife's papers, at first I thought 'man this guy's idea of his marriage is so skewed' and as he continues to read and recount how he acted in the marriage, I started to think 'when is this woman going to cut this guy a break?'  It seemed as though, according to her idea of his involvement in the marriage and her life, that he could never satisfy her.  First she wants him more involved, then she says he's too involved and then she laments that he pulled away from her.  What in the heck did she want?  This led me to wonder if I am that fickle in my own marriage.  I hope not.

I thought some of the supporting characters were annoying and not all that necessary, especially the daughter of Victor's friend.  His friend I understood to be a point of tension in the novel, but the daughter was merely irritating.  The son of his aunt-in-law could also grate on my nerves as serving only to flit in and out of the novel acting spoiled until the very end when he begins to play a more significant role, albeit erratic.  And while his partner at the labs offered a more congenial contrast to the other characters floating around him, her character also felt peripheral without much purpose.

I did find myself reading late into the night as I felt more and more drawn into the novel, which eventually led to my pure disappointment in the end of the novel.  His last note seemed so out of character, so sentimentally wistful, I didn't find it believably 'Victor'.  Though the end's fizzle most likely held true to life, I found it anti-climactic and disappointing because I felt like this man I had invested so much emotion into and rooted for had not finished his story arch, he had not reached some point of personal growth to my satisfaction.

Overall the novel is well written and engaging.  The idea of memories and how we build those not as truths based on fact, but as truths to our own perception certainly intrigued me.  Though I was left feeling disappointed in the ending, that could not overshadow the fact that most of the novel drew me in.

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What were your thoughts on the novel's overall ideation?  What did you feel the supporting characters added to the novel, if they did add anything for you?  Did you find yourself satisfied with the ending?  What were your thoughts on the disparate views of the marriage between Victor and Sara?

(I've thrown out a few questions to try something new - answer if you want or answer others, or ask others.  Let's have some fun with this.)