I have so many feelings, y’all. We’re gonna need to talk about that.
Those who follow me on whatever social media have probably already had way enough of me raging about We Are Okay, but behold, there’s more to come.
I’ve been lucky in the past few months, the last time I picked up a book I didn’t like was back in spring of last year, when invisible-i-am was such a letdown. This year, I have only chosen books I absolutely fell in love with, especially Harriet Reuter Hapgood’s The Square Root of Summer. I devoured the book within two days, raged on and on about it, only to discover this tweet by Reuter Hapgood:
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is the book I needed to read and the only book I want to read forever. Quietly perfect, as spare as Joan Didion 🖤 pic.twitter.com/pNSvsz6PNb
— Harriet Reuter H (@hapgoodness) March 10, 2017
Guys, I’ll admit it. I have a slight but very noticeable cover fetish, so We Are Okay‘s cover hit me where it hurt. I bought the book after a reasonable time questioning my librophile purchases this month (a couple seconds, at least), and waited. And waited.
@hapgoodness You know, if I go on a sobbing 3am Twitter spree because of this book, I’ll absolutely blame it on you. But yes, will do!
— Lux Winter ❄ (@LuxWinter_) March 10, 2017
This one’s on you, Reuter Hapgood. I’m watching you.
While I did not go onto aforementioned Twitter spree, I did a lot of clichéd staring off into the distance. I also cried. For the first time in my adult life, I cried because of a book. Not proud of that one, but I’ll book it onto LaCour’s writing skills list.
“You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.”
This is gonna be one weird review, mainly because I’m still looking for words to describe how I feel about this book. Let’s start with the fact that I desperately want to read more LaCour has written, but then again I absolutely do not want to read more, because it will have to be a letdown compared to We Are Okay. I am absolutely, wholeheartedly, a hundred percent convinced one can only write a book like that once in a lifetime. LaCour’s writing is slight, it’s fragile, it’s subtle, and it’ll hit you like a thousand tons of bricks crushing your chest.
The book is full of innocent lines, just stating the obvious, or mere explanations, but LaCour takes them, cushions them with context, imagery and turns them into small masterpieces. Syllable by syllable, just like that, the simplest things gain more gravity than others can express with the most beautiful words.
This is not a coming-of-age story as much as it is exactly a coming-of-age story. It’s subtly undramatic, it’s plain, it’s beautiful. Marin is all of us, we can fill her with our own tragedies and let her be ourselves. She’s our flaws and she’s so good at it that it hurts.
I learned a lot about myself reading this book. Not in an esoterical, enlighting kind of way, but in the weird revelation that, as a matter of fact, I’m not alone. There’s things Marin does or says that I have done or said for the same exact reason that she did. It’s baffling to think that all this time I felt like I was all alone in this weirdness, only to discover LaCour managed to put it into words and that people were just as amazed as I am. Mind-blowing, really.
This book is breaking my heart harder than my first boyfriend did, and he dumped me for World of Warcraft. #amreading
— Lux Winter ❄ (@LuxWinter_) March 23, 2017
The story is complex and subtle. I’d have a hard time explaining what actually happen, considering the book only really spans three days. LaCour weaved a story so intricate, every piece fits. Never once have I had a “Why didn’t the author—?!”-moment. Never once have I raised my eyebrow at an unfitting word or a weird phrase or anything, really.
Honestly, I’m just gonna stop rambling like I’m being paid for this. The bottom line is that if I ever have a daughter, I’ll absolutely make her read it. And you should read it. You might not love it as much as I did, you might not find it as relatable, you might not think so highly of LaCour – but you should give yourself chance to fall in love with We Are Okay as much as I did.
Definitely, without further explanation, five of five anatomically correct hearts for Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay.