Monday, June 13, 2022

Book Review: How to Save a Life

By Sara Steven

One night in December, twenty-two year old Ted Green makes his way to Waterloo Bridge determined to end his life. Lonely, despairing and utterly hopeless, it seems the only choice to make. 

That same night in December, Marianne Cooper is running away from a party. Having found her boyfriend in a passionate clinch with someone else, Marianne can’t get away fast enough. But as she makes her way along London’s South Bank, a figure catches her eye on top of the bridge. 

Then she sees him, a man ready to jump. 

When Marianne saves Ted’s life, this night in December becomes one they’ll never forget, but as Ted watches Marianne leave in a black taxi, all he can think is he should have asked her name. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

How To Save A Life really had an effect one me. So much so, that the concept of near misses with someone who has had a significant impact found its way into my dreams the night I’d finished reading it!

And really, the concept of it was pretty astounding. After Ted feels he has been saved by Marianne, it completely changes the trajectory of his life. A lot of focus is placed on how much he feels he owes to Marianne, but it’s obvious that the night had completely changed the course of Marianne’s life, too. At that time, she felt like she’d had no real direction and had no motivation to be anything substantial in her own world. Yet after that night, it prompted her to step up and do the work to become something more. 

For Ted, stepping up meant battling the PTSD demons he had acquired from his prior war experiences. I appreciated that the author had added that element in, because it felt fitting for Ted’s situation and where he’s at when he makes the decision to head off towards the Waterloo Bridge. Along the way, he does have support to help him with his mental health journey, but even that is slightly attributed to Marianne. So much of what he wants to become and the inspiration in reaching his goals begins with her in mind, a young woman who he thinks of every single day. 

While I really appreciated the continual near misses that occur for both characters–they nearly run into each other several times over the course of the book–it got to a point for me where I just wanted them to meet already! It felt like the anticipation went on a bit too long. But everything else had been laid out with careful execution, lending into what was still an enjoyable experience for me. It reminded me of the movie, Serendipity–a movie I really like because of its intricate connections, and How To Save A Life definitely had a lot of intricacies that made it a deeply layered, deeply emotional read.

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK 

Clare Swatman is the author of three women’s fiction novels, published by Macmillan, which have been translated into over 20 languages. She has been a journalist for over twenty years, writing for Bella and Woman & Home amongst many other magazines. She lives in Hertfordshire. Before We Grow Old was published in January 2022.

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