This book first came to my attention when I saw the trailer for its movie adaptation on YouTube. And like I do whenever I see the trailer of any film I haven’t already heard of, I went to Google it. And Google revealed that there is a book as well.

I was intrigued enough by the premise to go looking for the novel. High school sweethearts, Emma and Jesse, who grow up to be so absolutely and totally in love with each other, get married. Then a helicopter crash somewhere far off in the unknown leads to the disappearance of Jesse, and he is presumed dead. Devastated, Emma grieves her husband for so long, until she meets Sam, a former high schoolmate who had a crush on her. They start to get close, and start to fall in love with each other. And after he has asked her to marry him and she has said yes, three years after his disappearance, Jesse is found.

So now, Emma is caught in a unique dilemma: having to choose between two men she loves very much – her husband and her fiancé.

Her past and her present.

The book is a terrific storytelling. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a great writer who weaves a quietly-powerful narrative here about love, relationships and family. And the way she tells the story, up until the final act, as the reader, you genuinely struggle to tell which man you’d root for Emma to pick in the end. Both men are made so relevant in her life, the loves they share with Emma so palpable and true.

You’re thinking: “Pick Jesse.”

But Sam is this crucial part of who she is now, this man who opened her heart after the pain of loss, this force that has kept her grounded in this life she didn’t know she wanted so much until she had it.

So you’re thinking: “OK then, pick Sam.”

But Jesse is the fire, the familiar, the one who was there first, the man who made her more than who she ever thought she’d be, the one she’d always believed was her soul mate.

As she rekindles things with Jesse, while Sam waits in the wings for her to make up her mind, Emma begins her journey to clarity when she starts to wonder if perhaps who she and Jesse love are the people they were, and not the people they are.

I could relate to that.

When I was in SS1 in boarding school, I started on what some might call my very first relationship with a boy I’d had a big crush on since our JSS2. I didn’t think I was in his league – he was one of the most popular boys in our set and I was just a nerd whose only claim to fame was that I was a class captain.

But somehow, in our SS1, the Universe brought him to my orbit when he approached me during one night prep and asked if he could kiss me. I wanted to die! Like WHAT!

My Number One crush wants to kiss me?!



He asked me to follow him, and I hastened out of my classroom, prepared to follow him to the ends of the earth for that kiss. But we only went as far as the dark, deserted car park, where he stepped close to me, leaned forward, inclined his head –

And kissed me.

That became the beginning of what turned out to be an on-and-off-and-on-again relationship that lasted from SS1 to SS3. I was forever smitten by him and he seemed to feel the same for me. I practically moved out of my dorm and into his own dorm, sharing his bed with him every night. He of course dated girls; popular boys had to. Me, I didn’t have to date girls. I was such friends with all the girls in my set, I didn’t need the cover of a girlfriend to protect my increased popularity as a senior.

Then we graduated. After exchanging heartbreaking goodbyes and promises that we’d stay in touch, he moved back to Lagos and I moved on to Owerri. I quickly got admission into the university, but he had to wait a year before he was admitted into the same university I was in. I was in Year 2 and he was in Year 1. And I was so positive we could start off from where we left off.

Story for the gods!

Something was so off with our renewed dynamic. Maybe it was because we were no longer sheltered by the bubble of the boarding school, and we’d become exposed to just how homophobic the society around us truly was. Or maybe it was because we were in two different levels in our lives; while he had Year 1 problems, I had Year 2 struggles. Or maybe, it was because he was trying more and more to be heterosexual and I was becoming more and more gay.

Whatever was the case, simply loving him no longer seemed enough. Perhaps we didn’t even love each other anymore, not who we were then anyway. Perhaps we had carried over the affection we felt for the boys we were in secondary school, and that couldn’t survive in the reality of who we’d grown up to be.

Written by Pink Panther

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  1. Loki
    June 21, 08:39 Reply

    Or perhaps ot was time to move on?
    I have come to realize that something’s must come to an end for you to move onto another chapter of your life.
    Perhaps it was time? Live the moment, have fun and when it’s time to leave, let it go.

    • Pink Panther
      June 21, 09:30 Reply

      Sometimes, it’s hard to move on when one feels like there’s something left there.

  2. Yusuf
    June 29, 19:50 Reply

    Hey pink panther, could I get an active email I can reach you on, been trying to get a hold of you with no response. Bless you

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