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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Geography of You and Me

A book that's been on my list ever since 2015 was The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. It's a book that was recommended by a friend when I got into reading again. It was also the time where I didn't care about being spoiled and so I already knew the main things that would happen, nevertheless was this a very amazing read.

Owen and Lucy have never met, even though they live in the same building. Tonight it all changes as the two of them meet while being stuck in an elevator. It hits both of them that they're good together and laugh as the best when they're together. But time to discover if they'd work as something more is not something they get. Lucy moves to Europe, while Owen and his dad try to figure out what they'll do next and travel further through America. Both think about the other all the time, but will they ever meet each other again?

I loved the characters, that said I'm jumping right in! Lucy was someone entirely different than I first thought. The first things we get about her is that her parents are constantly away, she goes to a school only for girls, wears uniforms and she has a good life. In the beginning many might think she's a spoiled kid. Yet things will change and your opinion on her will become a very different one once you know more about her.

I could really relate to her because she loved things that I love too and she can get into it in a way I really understand it. At the start I also wasn't sure she was the most confident girl. Her parents are constantly away, she's home alone and she feels a bit lonely. But the more you read into the story the more you realize that Lucy's actually a lot stronger and optimistic than you would first see.

As for Owen, he was the opposite of Lucy in the beginning. I thought he was one of those nerdy guys that wasn't a fan of the popular girls and lived in his own shadows, was rather lonely. But also this characters opens up a lot more during the book. Owen isn't like this, and we see this when he retells certain aspects of the past, he was actually a really social boy but when his mother died he didn't know where to put himself. Especially because his dad then moved them up to New York and he just didn't like the big city.

Readers that aren't into big cities and love to explore will certainly be able to relate to this character. Not only did he see the best in the little things, he's also a very strong person who holds himself up for his father and helps out in times when there's no money, or when his dad is just too torn up to do anything. Owen was an amazing character!

What I realized with both this characters really is that the book tries to keep them closed for the readers for a little while. At first you'd think "this is the character" but really, they're so much more different from our first opinion. I absolutely was a fan of this because it yet again shows us not to judge a book by its cover. Seeing them grow and seeing them become the persons they really are, at their best, was amazing to experience. Especially when it took you some time before you discovered them.

As for the plot, it's something I haven't really seen before. I'm sure there are more books alike but I haven't read anything like it then. The characters both meet when all power in New York is down, they're stuck in an elevator. Now my heart really melted at this, I mean it does sound very unlikely to happen, but also really made the romanticist in me want this really badly. 

Above that they never met, and now here they are stuck in an elevator! It doesn't take very long for them to bond on a little discussion they have and by laughing a lot together. Yet when they're saved out of the elevator a bit later, the night doesn't end for them. Both Owen and Lucy feel there's a certain pull with them and they decide to hang out for the rest of the night. This includes being on the roof of their building and talking about sending postcards that has ridiculous sentences on them like "Wish you were here". This book did make the postcard thing seem a very funny thing that exists and I was really keen on it. Especially because it'll be of great importance for the rest of the book.

Yet the plot takes an unexpected turn just a few moments after they met because both will be moving out of the apartment. Can you imagine? You just met someone and now he or she moves?! Well, Jennifer E. Smith makes sure you experience this! And boy, can I say I absolutely loved this. 

The book then evolves to two plot lines that change independently from each other. We see Lucy finally getting a better relationship with her parents. Which really struck me as odd, I mean in the beginning of the book we see Lucy live alone and she tells us about her parents always being away. Seeing them bond in different cities in Europe was as amazing as it was odd. Odd in a way that we see the side of the parents too. Did they mean to leave her on her own? Or did they leave her out of love for her? It's all discovered in the book and I was rather satisfied with getting a few answers myself.

As for Owen, he sticks around in America but also sees many other cities there. His dad doesn't have a job ever since he lost his wife and both still suffer because of this. That said, they're on the move until they find the place that'll become their new home. This was also something I loved to see because you see them growing from sad to really trying to find a new start and get the best of themselves back. 

Both characters really go their own way and of course they still get in touch with each other, which brings the old fashioned things back: writing postcards. It's amazing to read  that the thing they really hated (and which was part of their first conversation) turns into their way of communicating. I swear to god, it has something cute as well as 'just typical them' to it and it was amazing to read about it and experience it the way the characters experience it. 

That said we see both characters evolve and grow separately and that made the book so much better really. It wasn't all about the love between them, the pull toward each other. It was about them being their true selves and figure out if they need each other, miss each other and still feel that magic pull towards each other while living their lives not knowing where the other one really was at that moment.

What I loved most about this book, next to the fact that the plot really focuses on the characters being separated and figuring out themselves, was that certain passages were really philosophic slash poetic. Let me give you a passage to make you see what I mean: (SPOILER ALERT, don't read the passage if you don't want to know yet!)

"If you were to draw a map of the two of them, of where they started out and where they would both end up, the lines would be shooting away from each other like magnets spun around on their poles. And it occurred to Owen that there was something deeply flawed about this, that there should be circles or angles or turns, anything that might make it possible for the two lines to meet again. Instead, they were both headed in the exact opposite directions. The map was as good as a door swinging shut. And the geography of the thing—the geography of them—was completely and hopelessly wrong."
— The Geography of you and me (Jennifer E. Smith)
Can I just say that this is just absolutely great? This book has more passages like this where it's really deep and filled with feelings. Although the characters aren't constantly busy with the other, the author (who wrote this book in omniscient narrator) made sure that sometimes we'd go back to the possibility of them being "a thing" by just writing a passage about them being apart, about them living a total other life and getting new things to deal with. I really lived for these passages.
As I just said they live apart and live a total other life with getting new things to deal with. This also underscores the fact that they're away from each other. Although they still think about each other and write occasionally, they're still somewhere else. They're dealing with their parents, lost of a parent, love, sadness and moving. This really shows the reader it isn't all about them loving each other, it's about living and maybe, just maybe, finding their way back to each other and see if there's more. 
Although I'm not a fan of omniscient narrator, I did love it in this book. Especially because it caused the book to have a few deep, poetic and beautiful passages. It also made sure that wherever they were, we'd always know what they thought and how they felt and what they're thinking of exactly and that was kinda great to experience.
This said, I think I can conclude that this book was amazing. It isn't all about loving, it's about the characters being apart and trying to figure out their lives and maybe, just maybe, find their way back to each other. The characters also grew and evolved while the story was evolving and this caused us to think twice about who they really were and not stick with the first judgment we gave. The plot shows us different sides of the world and them living life at the fullest. The Geography of You and Me is a book I recommend to people who aren't a big fan of romantic books, it might be romantic in some way but it's also entirely different since they're separated at the fair beginning of their journey together. It's a book filled with what it is to live, to find someone and maybe find them again and gives us beautiful deep thoughts.
"Maybe it was possible that you could take someone out of their life and drop them in the middle of another place entirely and they could seem like someone completely different."

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