As I come up on graduation, a time that seems to be moving both fast and pretty slow, I’ve got to be thinking a whole lot about the future. I’ve got to be thinking about my plans.

Right now, everyone’s plans are changing and ideas of where we want to be aren’t quite in our hands anymore.

When I stumbled upon this book, I didn’t realize that the characters in it would be in the same situation but for very different reasons. But it got me out of my life for a little while and into another pair of shoes. Into another city, another life. This one is heartwarming and sad and a slight rollercoaster too, one that I think was worth the (in my opinion) short read. So without further ado, here it is.

In the Last Five Years—Rebecca Serle

Do you have those friends that you love, that you keep in touch with, and you get along with really well even though you’re nothing alike? 

Meet Dannie and Bella, our two main-ish characters. Two very different friends whose lives balance one another out in more ways than one. But I think one thing that the author does well is that they don’t actually see eye to eye on everything, their friendship isn’t perfect. They get in a few fights, they think things that may not be so nice about one another, but they don’t always say them out loud, and the relationship can be a little volatile at times. As friends, they grow together and in this book, it feels very realistic to me within the pages of this book.

So does the pain when they hit a roadblock between the two of them, something neither can really control, and it starts to tear the relationship apart piece by piece from the inside out. It’s like when you know something is bothering you, but you don’t want to say it out loud, so instead it kind of sits there and sits there, just getting heavier and heavier. When something like that begins to hurt in a relationship, a fictional one, but you start to feel it anyway… that’s when you know it’s been written well. These are characters you get attached to, one you root for and also sometimes, not so much.

 The characters really are what drive this story forward. Because Dannie, our main character, she’s kind of a lot. I’ve read some reviews where people love her. If I’m being honest with you, I see where she’s coming from in a lot of places—the whole five years part of this boom has to do with a prolonged engagement. I can understand cold feet when you’re unsure about something.

But there are moments when she’s in the wrong and I dislike the character. A lot. She’s pushy and ignorant and shoves her way into business that doesn’t belong to her… She does it so much that it just got on my nerves.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

And that’s how I know that, like it or not, Serle wrote this well.

Now, I will say one thing. If you’re looking for an uplifting story that is upbeat and distracting, this isn’t quite it. Though story does have quite a few uplifting moments, it isn’t that way through and through. The back of the book– though not always the best representative, I admit–labels this one as a heartbreaker. I might have to agree depending on how attached you tend to get to characters. It’s a good one, but you’ll have to get your hands dirty.

The premise of this story is slightly unrealistic– Dannie almost time travels in a very real seeming dream-like state and sees her future only to land right back in her life five years before to then have to work her way back to figure out just how all the pieces fit together. Though unrealistic, it wasn’t too distracting as a premise and it actually did add to the plot in the way that most of us end up fumbling throughout lives regardless of whether we time traveled at some point or not. Dannie just had some extra confusion on her plate.

Photo by Foto T on Unsplash

At least for being 22, this is right about where I’m headed with my life in a couple years (minus the seeing my future part) and the characters in this book all live very different lives. This book reminded me that with everything we do, there are multiple paths to take and many opportunities to take them. All it takes is one to take you down a different road and into a different life. Who’s to say I can’t live any one of these character’s lives?

In terms of a balanced plot, rounded characters, and well-timed tempo, this story made so many different lives seem possible and pulled me into a new one for a while. For me, that was the goal.

So if you’ve read this one, let me know what you thought, otherwise, I actually have another question. What are you reading these days? Be it nonfiction, cook books, manga, history, I’m curious about what you’re all up to these days and I could use something new. I’ve been hitting some writers block lately and well, I need some help chipping away at it. Anything you’ve got, just throw it my way.

Otherwise, take care of yourselves and if there’s anything you want to hear more of or a different direction you’re interested in from me, I’m open to it too! Happy Tuesday everyone.

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