Love is real and real love lasts. I used to feel sorry for people who didn’t believe in it—the people who were lonely with someone else or lonely alone. For awhile I was was one of the lucky ones.
C.K. Kelly Martin, who’s written several marvelous young adult novels, couldn’t find a traditional publisher for her first book for adults, Come See About Me.
According to Martin, no one knew how to market a novel with a 20 year old protagonist. Come See About Me certainly isn’t a teen novel, it’s mature and addresses themes that are not seen in the YA category. And since “Adult” fiction typically features older narrators, not a recent college dropout, it couldn’t be marketed as “Adult.” Essentially, a marketing problem* prevented this novel from hitting bookstore shelves.
This is absolutely perplexing to me.
Luckily for us, Martin couldn’t keep to herself the story of Leah, a young woman who’s life has wholly stalled following the death of her boyfriend, Bastien, who was killed while crossing the street in Toronto. She flakes on her job, fails out of school, hides from her friends and family—she can’t move forward because of the loss. She wants to be alone with her memories and sadness over what should have been, over their lost future together.
Alone is what’s easier. Everyone else would prefer that I pretend my life hasn’t been hollowed out. They believe their expectations should carry some weight with me. Only Bastien truly carries any weight and people try to use that fact against me too and tell me what he would want for me. Some of the things they say about that might be right, but since he’s not here he doesn’t get to decide how I should handle his absence.
The early chapters, in which Leah recounts her relationship with Bastien, were incredibly difficult for me to read. The two went to high school in British Columbia together, though they weren’t even friends—acquaintances is a better description—and connected later, when they both went to college in Toronto. Their love was the forever sort, not the college dating temporary sort.