Spoilers ahead, since I want to reflect more on my feelings towards the story instead of an actual review —
It was a light, fun read that I couldn’t stop until I had finished it. Set in college, it made me think of my own four years that now feels like I’ve wasted a little. I wish I could do it all over again, do it differently, even though I had made few precious friends at the end of it all. Why couldn’t I have finished something, even if it were a fanfic? A string of what-if’s: what if I never stopped writing? What if I pursued programming or web design stuff more? What if I had never gone into film? What if I had made a different set of friends? I’m not exactly full of regret, but it just made me wish a little that I had done things much differently.
On the brighter side of things, it inspired me to perhaps try to write a little again even if I’m not writing a thousand words a day or finishing a fanfic with thousands of readers. Once every few years I still receive an email with a review from one of my fanfics at Fanfiction.Net, but unlike Cath, at the start of college I decided I wanted to try original fiction and stopped writing fanfic altogether (an endeavor that I eventually failed at, and funnily enough it somehow started the same way. I stopped writing when I fell in love, thought about boys, but that didn’t end so well either. Now it makes it seem the whole thing was a double failure!). I have worlds and I have characters but my problem isn’t world-building: it’s threading the start and end of a story. Most of the time I don’t even know how the story will end, so I’m stuck writing bits and pieces of starts and ends.
As the book progressed to Cath’s relationships (with her sister, with Reagan, with Nick, with Levi. Especially Levi), I felt all the similarities with my relationship with Charlie. In a way, Charlie is similar with Levi: he always smiles, he’s way too nice to other people, he is just good. He has so much good in him that sometimes I can’t believe he loved me of all people. And then here I am: the crazy one. The one who had a lot of issues and baggage at the beginning of our relationship, who would scream and rage at him for his friendship with people who have hurt me deeply and traumatized me, among other things. But he stuck through it all: throughout all the crazy, throughout my sessions with my doctor, throughout the healing process in between. I’m only a little less crazy now, only a little less stubborn, but every day Charlie would make me feel so loved.
“I’m such an idiot,” he said.
Cath fell between his knees and hugged him.
“I can’t believe I said that,” he said. “I can’t even go nine hours without seeing you.”
We fight, like normal couples, but we never drag it out too long because Charlie hates it. I don’t like fighting in the heat of the issue, so I end up trying to run away to deal with it later, but Charlie stops me from being stupid because it really is a waste of time to stay angry with someone you love when you can spend more time being happy together.
Seeing each other daily was one of the things that I liked in Cath and Levi’s relationship. I know independence is good for couples, and for a while I thought it was weird that Charlie and I are the kind of couple who would see each other every day, spend hours in each other’s company six out of seven days a week! We managed it somehow, even though we’ve already graduated from college, even though there were points wherein we both worked in different cities. My officemates usually saw their girlfriends or boyfriends a few days a week, some only during weekends. Some less often than that because they lived too far away from each other. But there’s Charlie and I who would see each other as regularly as possible, and yet still miss each other just as often. I thought that maybe that wasn’t healthy or something. But then there was Levi who would always go to see Cath, every day. It was nice. It’s amazing, I realized, and I’m lucky. I’m happy for Cath and Levi and for myself and Charlie.
The book made me appreciate my relationship with Charlie even more. Maybe I wanted things to have been different for me. Cath had been lucky, I think, because even if I had similar experiences with her, she had drawn the better stick. But what matters in the end is the me now, my life now, and it’s good. The book made me feel thankful and hopeful at the same time, and I’m really glad I read it.