Book Review: Give Me Your Answer True by Suanne Laqueur

About the Book:

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“What I feel has no name…”

Following her award-winning debut novel The Man I Love, author Suanne Laqueur now gives Daisy Bianco a chance to tell her story.

It’s been three years since an egregious error of judgement cost Daisy the love of her life. Erik was a conduit to her soul but now he’s chosen a path of total disconnection, refusing to speak to her. Alone and shattered, she attempts to take responsibility for her actions while building her career as a professional dancer in New York City. But Erik’s unforgiving estrangement proves too much for her strength. Plagued by flashbacks to the shootings at Lancaster, she falls into a dangerous spiral of self-harm, cutting into her own skin as a means to atone. Only the timely appearance of an old friend, John “Opie” Quillis, saves her from self-destruction and gives her a chance to love again.

Laqueur skillfully weaves flashbacks to the years at Lancaster with Daisy’s present life. Supported by John’s patient affection, she works to separate her evolution as an adult from the unresolved guilt and grief of her youth. As her professional accomplishments lift her out of depression, Daisy learns to hold onto her accountability without letting it become her identity. Years pass and she builds a beautiful life filled with dance and friends. Lovers come and eventually go, leaving her on her own with the old thought: Come back to me.

In this parallel narrative, Laqueur peels open the beloved characters from The Man I Love to reveal new and complex layers of vulnerability. The scars from the shooting are deep and pervasive within this circle of friends. Like Daisy, they evolved without being resolved. Because when questions from the past go unheeded, you alone must find and give your answers true.

My Thoughts:

I am sure all of you have read my thoughts on Suanne’s first book The Man I Love. If not please go and check it out. Following that, Suanne asked me whether I would be interested in reading GMYAT and sharing some of my thoughts. I cannot deny that I was excited to get a chance to know the story from Daisy’s perspective.

This story can be considered as a parallel narrative to TMIL. Personally I would suggest reading TMIL first and then GMYAT. The reasons for this will hopefully become clear as you read my review.

GMYAT follows the events of the shooting at Lancaster University through the eyes of Daisy. The story highlights her thoughts and her feelings throughout the entire timeline of events and beyond. Since the author had already introduced the story sequentially in TMIL, she seems to have handled the narration in this book differently.

The story follows Daisy’s sessions with her therapist Rita as she talks about the events that finally led her to the point of needing to see a therapist interspersed with flashbacks to events in the past. All this until we reach the present day in Daisy’s life from where we follow her as she proceeds to take her life back into control and move forward.

The author beings out pure emotion at every stage and they are expressed so wonderfully that as a reader I was able to feel everything that the characters were feeling. The strength and depth of the emotions startled me.

It is quite intriguing to witness how one incident can change the life of a lot of people. the pain they endure and the way they deal with the situation changes them all. Through this story, the reader will also meet John, Will and Lucky. We are shown a side of them that we never knew while reading TMIL. In TMIL, the story was told from Erik’s POV and so everything was described based on how he perceived it.

In GMYAT, Lucky and Will, who were her friends even before Erik came, are shown in a different light. Suanne highlights their friendship and how it started and the level of comfort they all shared. Suanna focusses on telling us the stories of many of the principle characters who appeared in TMIL. Through this narration we see them in a different light and get to know more about them and their personalities. The story also talks about Daisy’s relationship with John and how he helps bring her out of depression. All the events that lead up to this and what happens after are dealt with deftly and showcased through Daisy’s memories and experiences.

As always, Suanne has strengthened her character sketches in this narration thus making us relate to them even more. It is easy to understand them. Suanne flawlessly crafts the story in a way to make the reader experience all the emotions she is describing at each stage. The story comes to an end at the same instant as TMIL does but the path taken to reach there is what makes GMYAT different.

This story is a wonderful parallel narrative to TMIL and will once again bring the readers in contact with the characters Suanne introduced in TMIL. I strongly recommend this book for the sheer beauty of the narration and the depth of emotions protrayed through the style of writing.

Book Review: The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

About the Book:

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As a college freshman, Erik Fiskare is drawn to the world of theater but prefers backstage to center stage. The moment he lays eyes on a beautiful, accomplished dancer named Daisy Bianco, his atoms rearrange themselves and he is drawn into a romance both youthfully passionate and maturely soulful. Their love story thrives within a tight-knit circle of friends, all bound by creativity and artistry. A newcomer arrives–a brilliant but erratic dancer with an unquenchable thirst for connection. And when this disturbed friend brings a gun into the theater, the story is forever changed. Daisy is shot and left seriously injured. And Erik finds himself alone in the aisle, looking down the muzzle of a pistol and trying to stop the madness. He succeeds, but with tremendous repercussions to his well-being and that of his loved ones.

Traumatized by the experience, the lovers spiral into depression and drug use until a shocking act of betrayal destroys their relationship. To survive, Erik must leave school and disconnect from all he loves. He buries his heartbreak and puts the past behind. Or so he believes.

As he moves into adulthood, Erik comes to grips with his role in the shooting, and slowly heals the most wounded parts of his soul. But the unresolved grief for Daisy continues to shape his dreams at night. Once those dreams were haunted by blood and gunfire. Now they are haunted by the refrain of a Gershwin song and a single question: is leaving always the end of loving?

Spanning 15 years, The Man I Love explores themes of love and sexuality, trauma—physical and mental—and its long-lasting effects, the burden of unfinished business and the power of reconciliation. Through Erik’s experience we reflect on what it means to be a man, a son and a leader. A soul mate, a partner and a lover. What it means to live the truth of who you are and what you feel. What it means to fight for what you love.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22515690-the-man-i-love

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-1hYK86Lzs

My Thoughts:

This first novel by Suanne Laqueur is a work of sheer brilliance. The book is so well written that it will keep the reader hooked until the very end.

This book explores the emotional psych of people who are in university and following certain events the author explores how trauma affects people, how they cope with it and how friendships and relationships fare in the midst of all this.

The story is written with powerful descriptions that makes it easy for the reader to visualize each situation. The power behind the way the author has described each emotion will draw the reader into the world of intrigue, theatre, friendship, betrayal and trauma.

The author touches upon how the world of theatre works with both the on stage crew and off stage. Dancers and directors on the one hand and then comes those who are involved in the lighting and props. The vivid descriptions of the world of theatre and dance bring out the author’s passion for the same.

Erik is a strongly developed character, affected by his father’s leaving their family in ways he didn’t even realize. He later behaves in certain ways and takes certain decisions that affect his life and the ones he loves in ways he doesn’t expect. Erik falls in love with Daisy and their love is one built in trust and understanding. The author explores how their relationship grows and later how it faces trials after the shooting and finally touches on the necessity of communication. There are so many elements to this that it will definitely affect the reader emotionally. The lives of those around the two central characters are intricately woven into the story and these people provide wonderful support to the plot.

Moreover, through the story, the author shows that it is necessary to seek help after facing any kind of trauma and the support of the ones we love. It is difficult to move on from something unless you confront it and deal with it. Bottling it up and burying something will never solve anything. Erik Fiskare learnt this the hard way.

I strongly recommend this book for everyone as it is important to understand the message that can be drawn out of this story. We learn that all our decisions have consequences and that the paths and decisions we take shape who we are and our actions in the future.