Literature

A Unique Premise With Nonlinear Storytelling | “The Things We Lost” by Maggie Giles (2022) Book Review

Maggie Giles, a Canadian writer, has made her debut with “The Things We Lost.” I got an opportunity to read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book, with the book releasing on April 19.

In this book, Giles builds a narrative around a very simple question: What if I chose a different romantic partner? Would my life be any different?

The principal character of this book, Maddie, is overcome by these questions when her relationship with her current partner fails to measure up. She feels neglected by her husband Nathan and craves for some attention and love from him. She is also cheating on him and is struggling to come to terms with her conflicting emotions regarding her affair. Becoming upset with her husband’s perceived neglect, she wishes that she had chosen her ex-boyfriend Jayson, with whom she had been cheating with, instead of her husband all those years ago.

Astonishingly, she wakes up the next day to a different life, many years ago, in which she had chosen Jayson. While getting accustomed to this different reality, she finds out that her choice hasn’t changed much about herself or her life.

The story takes us through her new journey and her growth as a person because of it. The narrative is in an interesting nonlinear pattern alternating between her previous life and the new one she is living now; we get a picture of who she was in her previous life, and who she is now, simultaneously.

The story’s premise is an interesting one. The author has employed this concept to explore how a single choice/decision taken by a person could affect so many people around them. She makes the reader wonder about all the seemingly inconsequential choices one might be making, and question if they hold more importance than they think.

But to me, the story felt long and winding. There were too many details about things which I didn’t find interesting. The pacing also could have been crisper and shorter. There are indeed some intrigue and thrill elements to the story; but they didn’t manage to keep me completely interested. And I can’t say I loved where the story went and how it ended. I would have liked a different ending with Maddie learning some more life lessons.

I, however, enjoyed the story to some extent. If you would like to read an intriguing story with this unique premise, you should definitely try this book.

This book gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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