Last night I finished reading Leah Stewart’s The Myth of You and Me. My mother loaned me the book thinking I might enjoy it, and while we both agree that our reading tastes don’t usually converge, this time she was right. I wasn’t sure I would like it at first, but I did get into it.
The Myth of You and Me is the story of the dissolution of a special friendship. Cameron and Sonia became best friends when they were fourteen, and they had one of those special friendships some people never have, and those lucky enough usually have only once in a lifetime. They seemed inseparable. What could go wrong? Years later, Cameron is assistant to noted historian Oliver Doucet in Oxford, Mississippi. When Cameron receives a letter from Sonia announcing her marriage, Oliver is intrigued. After he passes away, he leaves behind a special package and insists that Cameron deliver it to Sonia in person.
The novel is written in a zig-zag line, moving back and forth from the present to the past as Cameron makes her way to Sonia’s house in Boston and recollects their friendship. It isn’t hard to follow, for Stewart’s transitions are clear. I liked the characters because they were realistic, but I’m not sure I’d have liked to have known them — except for Oliver. I found Sonia’s mother to be so over-the-top as to be unbelievable. I think writers are treading dangerously when they paint a character as almost completely good or completely flawed — those types of people don’t really exist. I had trouble believing her character.
This novel was written for my generation. There are indeed so many cultural references specific to people of my generation — acid washed jeans, Dirty Dancing, and Swatch watches — that I fear the novel may become somewhat dated over time. I think people from around age 30 to 40 will appreciate this novel directed right at their generation, but I wonder if it will have wider appeal to others.
All told, I enjoyed the book. It is not without its problems, but it is certainly worth a read. I think most people can relate to the ache of loneliness that you can never feel after that very special friend is no longer in your life, whether you drifted apart slowly or made a sudden break.
[tags]Leah Stewart, The Myth of You and Me, literature, reading, review[/tags]