Book review: The Versions of Us, by Laura Barnett

Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva’s then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them. (Goodreads)

First off, I would like to thank my dear friend Nina (she’s on lemon lime and bitter, so if you’re into K-drama, might I suggest you to come and take a look on her blog) for suggesting this book. Sadly, it took me some time to read it, but, it was well worth it. Just a disclaimer, though, I didn’t actually took any note whilst I was reading the book, therefore this book review might be a bit scattered, but I hope it still made some pretty sense anyway.

I would like to say that this is such a captivating story. Even from the first few chapters, I knew I was going to like this book. The characters were definitely what hooks me the most. For some odd reason, I feel like both Jim and Eva could have been some friends from school that I know personally and that I am part of their lives. I always admire a good book with such believable characters that I would end up investing a lot of my feelings so that I would cry when they cry and I laugh when they laugh. But, I’m not going to get all technical about this book, because I’m not an expert in the writing department.

Here’s what I think as I finished the book, my heart ache for Jim and Eva; for their beautiful/tragic/near-missed/make believe love story. For some reason, I feel like fate has picked the right time for me to read this book. It took me quite a while to finish it, that I actually had this book accompanied my turning of age into 28. I don’t know if I’m reading too much between the lines, but the whole topics covered in this book surely is something worth considering when you’re reaching your late 20s.

Top of my mind, love and the consequences of allowing it to be your anchor. Imagine meeting (what you thought to be) the love of your life in your early 20s. That person will be the only person you will ever loved for decades, until one day they decided to stop loving you and leave you be. Or that in the span of your marriage, you realise that the love you felt burning so bright before was now slowly diminishing. You are then left with questions of giving up and take it as it is, for it is the choice you make and you will fight to make it work. Or a love that you met late into your life. Would you seize the opportunity or just let it all go for you felt your old age is withering and you need not to spend it on love that would not last forever? Or a love you fought hard to keep it at bay and just suddenly you decide to embrace it? But at what cost?

But, see, this book isn’t just about that kind of love. It’s about love for your parents; the sacrifices they made for you to be able such a fulfilling life (how mediocre it might be in the eyes of strangers). It’s also about love for your siblings; the joy and pain of seeing them grew and expand from such a young and youthful face to the old wrinkly and wise face. It’s also about love for your children; about the consequences and the sacrifices you make, maybe for your happiness or for your children’s happiness. Whatever it may be, the stories told in this book were definitely fruits of thoughts as I turn 28. It opened my eyes about my happiness is, about what love is, about what commitment is.

And, here I go rambling about my life. Point is, I seriously would totally recommend this book! The stories, as I have mentioned before, were captivating. The characters were enjoyable (sure, I still hold a grudge about a certain Helena and Bella in the book, but that’s exactly what made the characters enjoyable because they felt real). Some part of the stories were pretty dark to my liking, and those were the stories where my heart ache deeply for Jim and Eva, but it was beautifully written; well proportioned that I feel like it was not the author’s intention to cause me such distress over the course of Jim’s life.

Okay, on second thought, I’m just going to end my ramble here. I know, none of my so-called reviews made any coherent sense, but please take my word when I recommend you this book. Do, read it, please.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Versions of Us

Author: Laura Barnett

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance


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