Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos
Marisa de los Santos may just be one of my favorite authors ever. I first discovered her when a friend from middle school sent me the books Love Walked In and Belong to Me, because she thought of me when she read them. From the first page, until I closed the second book, I read in rapt fascination with goosebumps prickling my arms. Who was this writer, and how did she know all of the thoughts inside my head?? Better yet, why could she put them down into words so much more eloquently than I could ever hope to?
I found myself thinking these very same thoughts upon reading de los Santos’ third novel, Falling Together. In fact, the book sat on my shelf for months before I was brave enough to open it, because, after a quick perusal of the inside flap, I discovered the plot line mimicked an on-going one in my own life!
However, I’m so glad I finally decided to pick it up. Once again de los Santos came out with a beautifully crafted work. On the surface the book is a basic tale of three school friends, Penelope, Will, and Catalina who have grown apart during their transitions into adulthood – until one day when a mysterious email prompts them to reconcile at their college reunion. Once you get into the story, however, it’s clear there is much more going on than meets the eye. Instead of the happy reunion they expected, Pen and Will are suddenly forced to face the past and to accept the future – leading them on a trip around the world with Cat’s less-than-pleasant husband.
I’m not sure how she does it, but de los Santos manages to paint a beautiful and authentic portrait of life, touching on our losses, our joys, and most importantly – our connections with others.
Because nothing I say could ever do her writing justice, here are a few quotes from the book itself:
“About three-quarters of the way through the book, she had gotten the strange and specific sensation of a small light turning on inside her chest, lifting itself out of darkness like a miniature dawn, and starting to brighten and grow…She sat in the child-sized blue plastic chair and felt like one of the paintings in the book, imbued with a warm, lemon-colored radiance. It took her a few seconds to realize what she felt was happy.”
“She was overcome. She longed for the moment to never end, but the ending was right there, waiting.”
“Even as she smelled it for the first time, she knew that it would be one of those smells that would haunt her, knew that she would be walking through some future time and place, get blindsided by the smell, and think, instantly: Cebu.”
“She had crossed from an age of unconsidered trust into one of watchfulness and worry (an age that turned out not to be an age at all, but a permanent condition, although, thankfully, she didn’t know this at the time.)”
All in all, although I think I still like Love Walked In a little bit better (it felt slightly more organized), I would definitely recommend Falling Together. Who am I kidding?? I recommend Marisa de los Santos in general! If you see one of her books, pick it up already!
Have you read Falling Together or any of Marisa de los Santos’ other works? What did you think?