"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde
It's been weeks and I still can't find all the words I'd need to express my feelings about this book.
It went on my all-time-favorites shelf immediately and will stay there until the cow comes home.
Brandon Witt writes beautiful prose. His words always make my day brighter, he always finds a way to touch me, to transport me right into his world, and he always, always makes me smile. But that isn't the reason - or not the only reason - why I loved this book so damn much.
In the end, it was Kevin who stole my heart. Don't get me wrong, I liked Casper! I enjoyed his POV and I loved his gentle, patient and kind nature. But Kevin was everything to me. His anxiety rattles him to the core on an almost daily basis. His body is not helping, but most of all it's his personal demons that practically force him to take control of the one thing that makes his mind bleed and weep, the one thing he can't let go despite having almost everything he wished for in a partner and a wedding dress shop: His weight, his eating habits, his eating disorder.
But he knows - as well as we all do - that nobody else can fix your self-esteem and self-worth issues for you. Nobody and nothing can give you a sense of peace and accomplishment and content - when you yourself can't see or acknowledge it first. And I have to say, Kevin's mothers were not exactly helpful. They were fascinating, loving and supportive in their own way, but at the same time their expectations and actions had some serious negative effects on Kevin in a way neither wanted to acknowledge. Sometimes they reminded me so much of my own family, it was painful.
And that's pretty much my story with this book. It was so damn painful, but in all the right ways. I found myself a tiny little bit in there, in a weird but wonderful way. I could understand it all, I could feel the pain and the anxiety and the healing. I felt it all. And while I had to stop at one point or the other, just to close my eyes and savor the experience - it was all so worth it. In the end, it was all so worth it. For Kevin, and for me as a reader.
This book was for me. It made me hurt, it made me cry, it made me laugh, and it put me back together in the end. And didn't let me go. Even weeks later I still find myself thinking about it now and again. That's the biggest plus for a book there is. I loved it all. I loved this book so damn much and I'm not afraid of shamelessly fangirl about it for years to come. Sure, this book probably isn't for everyone. There is no copious amount of sexy, smutty scenes. There is a lot of internal conflict going on, a lot of things you don't "see", only feel. And I can understand where that isn't everybody's cup of tea. Also, the final "meltdown" and climax might be hard to swallow for some readers. Just a fair warning.
I'll stop now or I'll ramble on and on about how fabulous and wonderful and amazing this story was for me. Just... Read it. That's really all I've left to say.
Just read it.