Book Review: The Myth of You and Me
I am the type of person who doesn't always get around to finishing the assigned book club selection. I picked up The Myth of You and Me on my own and read it in one sitting. Other recently-hailed novels have failed to draw me in, but Leah Stewart's story presented an emotionally true to life tale, wrapped in the structure of an unfolding mystery, that kept me reading to find out what had happened. The story revolves around two best friends who were inseparable in high school and college. After college, something happened that caused them to break off their relationship. Eight years later, events are set in motion that cause Cameron and Sonia to seek each other out again.
The characters in The Myth of Your and Me are not always honest with themselves or others, but that is part of what makes the story true to life. Characters are kept apart by the unresolved gap between perception and reality. I think that each of us has a fear that it people really knew us, they wouldn't like us, and that current is present throughout the novel. Each of us has a guilty memory of a friendship lost due to mutual fault and failure to forgive. As Cameron and Sonia's friendship is revealed in facets, turned around as though viewed through a kaleidoscope, the story will provoke readers to re-examine their own personal events from a more objective viewpoint. Both characters are at fault for the end of their frienship, but perception of who has committed the greater wrong, at what price, shift as the full story is revealed.
It's refreshing to see a novel where truly shocking behavior doesn't involve overt violence, but consists of actions born of thoughtlessness and cruelty in a moment of anger, without thought for the consequences. How much do we want to punish the ones that we love? What is the cost to ourselves? Stewart provokes tantalizing ambivalence by challenging us to forgive her characters once we really know them. Can these characters forgive one another? Can we forgive ourselves?