posted at Sunday, June 29th, 2014 at 8:00 AM | Adult, Reviews, Sadie Hawkins
Published by Author on June 7, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Amazon • The Book Depository
Twenty-year-old Leah Fischer's been in a state of collapse since the moment police arrived on her Toronto doorstep to inform her that boyfriend Bastien was killed in a car accident. After flunking out of university and cutting herself off from nearly everyone she knows, Leah's saved by Bastien's aunt who offers her a rent-free place to stay in a nearby suburban town.
Initially Leah keeps to herself, with no energy for anyone or anything else, but it's not long before her nurturing neighbours begin to become fixtures in Leah's life and a much needed part-time job forces her to interact with other members of the community. And when Leah is faced with another earth-shattering event, her perspective on life begins to shift again. Soon Leah's falling into a casual sexual relationship with Irish actor Liam Kellehan, who has troubles of his own, even as she continues to yearn for her dead boyfriend. Clearly she's not the person she thought she was—and maybe Liam isn't either.
Recommended by: Lenore Appelhans (Presenting Lenore)
After being impressed with the intensity of C.K. Kelly Martin’s young adult novels, I was really curious to try her new adult Come See About Me. As expected, Come See About Me has all the grit and sexiness of the typical new adult novel, but also takes on everything in a very true to life, sincere, and healthy way. Though a romance in its way, Come See About Me is primarily the story of a young woman seeking to find herself again after the loss of a loved one. Powerful and sexy, Come See About Me features all of the elements I’ve always loved about Martin’s writing.
Leah and Bastien had the perfect relationship. They were just impossibly, blissfully happy together. Thus, when he’s killed in a random accident, Leah is utterly bereft. People react to grief in all sorts of ways and her reaction was essentially inaction. She wraps herself up in their apartment, not wanting to leave the spot that reminds her most of Bastien. She flunks out of school, gets fired from her job for not showing up, and stops answering phone calls. Her depression is severe and she’s almost out of money.
The first person narration is highly effective. Leah feels a bit remote from the world around her, life coming into her prose only when she thinks of her past with Bastien or interacts with an imaginary version of him. She’s cold, desperate and unbearably sad. Leah was actually hard for me to really bond with as a result, but I do get why she is that way and I think it fits the story being told. Come See About Me is very dark and painful, because the reader can’t help wanting to encourage Leah to try to live on. At twenty, she’s determined her life is over and she’ll never love again.
Bastien’s aunt, a widow herself, offers Leah a refuge. She allows Leah to stay at her house in Oakville, where the Aunt spends only a couple of months a year. This worried me, and Leah’s family, because it seems like this merely enables Leah. However, ultimately, her grief does run its course naturally. Seeking counseling would have been good, but, being, I imagine, of a happier disposition naturally, Leah does recover.
What I like about this is that the hot sex with the hot Irish actor doesn’t cure her. In some ways, he does help her recover, but he is not the solution to her woes. In fact, in some ways, he sets her back. Yes, he draws her out of her shell as she feels something again (lust), but her attraction to him also makes her feel like she’s betraying Bastien’s memory. More important, ultimately, in Leah’s rediscovering herself are her friends and her job.
Leah basically forgot how to person in the wake of Bastien’s death. She and Bastien were so wrapped up in one another and had intertwined their lives to the degree that she didn’t know who she was without him. She’d drifted away from her friends, happy to spend most of her time with Bastien. As she reawakens, she has to really consider the friend that she’s been and what she wants out of life. Martin raises some interesting questions about relationships and it’s interesting how the “perfect” relationship might not have been healthy.
The romance aspect I wasn’t sure on until the very end. Liam’s hot, but I never really shipped it. I mean, I was all for Leah getting some action, because seriously she needed to leave her house. When I am telling someone they should leave their couch, that’s a bad sign. At the same time, she doesn’t need to just jump into another serious relationship. I won’t say how it ended, but I think that Martin handled everything perfectly for the kind of book Come See About Me is.
My favorite aspect of the novel is Leah’s relationship with reading. In her grief, Leah can’t focus on books. She carries The Handmaid’s Tale around with her anyway. Though she doesn’t read the book for most of the novel, she does open it and read sentences. She applies them to her life, almost like Atwood has written it just for her, to help her along. Leah does know that’s not the case, but I think it’s a testament to how much fiction can help a person. We find the messages we need to find within its pages. The interpretations often say more about the reader than the book. It’s a touching look at reading that gave me many readerly feels.
I did find a few errors littered throughout the paperback of Come See About Me, but it’s not substantially worse than some finished copies from big publishers. Come See About Me is the sort of thing I really want from new adult. I want serious issues dealt with in a level-headed manner. I want college and first jobs and that in between stage of partial independence while still being supported somewhat by parents. Martin does this really well.
Maybe no one person should be that important that their absence drains life of meaning, but he was.
Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:
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