Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Book Review: The Girl I Used to Be

By Sara Steven

Marie Kondo for the soul.

Anna and Will have been passing in and out of each other’s lives since they were just kids.

Now 20 years later, Anna is married - she has a lovely house, a step daughter in university and a husband with a good job.

What she doesn’t have is joy. When she runs into Will it sparks something in her, a longing for the Anna she used to be.

Together they embark on a journey to find what brings them joy, to discard what doesn’t and to become the people they always wanted to be.

But in finding themselves, can they also find each other?  (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I really enjoyed The Girl I Used To Be–a big reason in large part due to my own life and how I’m a firm believer in things happening when they’re meant to, having had that kind of experience with my husband. We’ve known each other for over two decades, yet we didn’t get married until years after we met. The same sort of premise applies with Anna and Will. 

Anna and Will have known each other for a very long time, and have always had a special connection, yet there have always been obligations and commitments that keep them apart. When they do run into one another, it’s usually after some life-altering event has occurred, yet they never share that information. Sometimes that lends into serious miscommunication, like the time Will’s brother was in a serious car accident, but he’d made plans to meet up with Anna and had no way to contact her to let her know the situation. From Anna’s point of view, he never showed up and wasn’t interested. And then years will go by where both characters think the worst, only lending into more division.

It’s hard not to relate with Anna and what she’s feeling. There were so many goals and dreams she’d had in her younger years; dreams she’d never pursued. In her older years, she has become complacent and accepts the state of her marriage because she’s fearful of what it might mean if she doesn’t. But she doesn’t feel like she fits in her own skin anymore. Like she’s growing beyond her current self, ready for a change. I appreciated how Will was the catalyst for that, yet ultimately, Anna wants something different because she wants to live her life to the fullest–on her own terms.

But much like the real world, both characters have lives and responsibilities. It’s not easy for Will to drop everything, again proving that they continue to walk on different paths that rarely line up together. Can Anna do what she’s dreamed of? Can Will? And what will that mean for those they hold dear? I loved the honesty of that–a strong five-star experience!

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK

Debbie Howells’s first novel, a psychological thriller, The Bones of You, was a Sunday Times bestseller for Macmillan. Four more bestsellers followed, including most recently The Vow, published by Avon. Fulfilling her dream of writing women’s fiction, she has found a home with Boldwood and her first title with them, The Life You Left Behind, was published in February 2022.

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