Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “With or Without You” by Caroline Leavitt, Algonquin Books, August 2020
WOW! Caroline Leavitt, author of “With or Without You” has written a captivating, intense, emotional, memorable, intriguing, and poignant story. The genres for this novel are Domestic Fiction, Dramatic Fiction, Women’s Fiction with a dash of romance, and suspense. The timeline for this story is set in the present and goes to the past and future when it pertains to the characters or events. Caroline Leavitt describes her dramatic characters as complicated, complex, flawed, dysfunctional, and each carries their own set of problems. I love the way Caroline Leavitt vividly describes her characters, events, scenery, and plot. Despite twists and turns, everything concludes in a well-planned story that keeps the reader’s attention.
Stella, a nurse, and Simon, a musician have been together as a couple for twenty years. Their relationship is starting to show signs of change. Simon has an opportunity to go on the road and be a musician for a few days. This could be an opportunity for Simon to have his fame and glory as in the earlier days. Stella has a cold and is trying to communicate what she wants. They talk and drink, and Stella passes out. Simon gets her to the hospital where Stella goes into a coma.
Simon has to decide whether to go on the road or stay with Stella. When Stella comes out of her coma, everything is different. Stella has problems remembering many things but has a compulsion and obsession to draw. She becomes very artistic, which she wasn’t before. The pictures that Stella draws and paints, get better and better, and it almost is like Stella is seeing what is inside the person she is painting.
I appreciate that the author discusses the importance of family, friends, communication, self-worth, and self-growth. She also talks about the importance of love, respect, second chances, forgiveness, and hope. I would highly recommend this thought-provoking story.