Friday, December 23, 2011

My take on: The Moment

Our lives are made up of a series of moments. For some, one incident can make or break you. Will you come to regret a decision you only had a moment to make? Or will it be the best decision you ever made?

"Though you might think, at the time, that this "something" is rooted in an obvious need (sex, romance, or other variations on an amorous theme), the truth is: you won't understand what the true meaning of the moment was until long after it has been stored in that cluttered room we litter with memory." Pg. 25

In The Moment by Douglas Kennedy travel writer Thomas Nesbitt has struggled internally with a decision he made 20-plus years ago. In a moment, Thomas focused more on his own hurt rather waiting for an explanation. He has moved on and formed a life, but is it the life he could have had?

He is now a middle-age man with a daughter in college and a long-dead marriage. He's content to let the divorce proceedings begin while he is locked away in a cabin working on his next book. Thomas' heart belongs to his daughter and his books, everything else is secondary. Growing up with parents who constantly fought taught Thomas to find an escape. But a package from a long-lost love throws Thomas for a loop. Rather than open the package, Thomas chooses to read a long-buried manuscript. The meat of the book is one long look at Thomas' past in 1980s Germany. A time when the Berlin Wall, separating East and West Germany, still existed. Trust and honesty seemed hard to come by as long as that wall was there.

While in staying in West Germany, Thomas falls in love with a beautiful translator, Petra Dussman. While looking into a job lead, he sees Petra. In that brief moment, Thomas knows there is something about Petra. Is it attraction? Is it love? Whatever it is he has to explore it despite her surly demeanor. He is determined to crack that shell. This is where I have a little problem. Almost instantly they fall in love. They have deep conversations and long loving looks at each other. It's just too good to be true. I have never believed in love at first sight. It's like Thomas and Petra are living in the clouds. They're the only two people in the world. Before long they're living together with Thomas and his eccentric roommate Alastair, a flamboyant gay artist. Do they ask him if she can move in? Not really.

But their romance brings both characters back to life. Thomas finally believes he can have a loving future despite the example his parents set forth. Petra is finally forgetting about the torture she suffered in East Germany. On her former side of the wall, Petra is considered a traitor. Her son is taken from her. After a year of freedom on the West side of the wall, Petra truly feels free. With Thomas, a future is possible and less painful. But after all the time that is taken to build this romance, Douglas Kennedy totally flips it. I was starting to believe in their romance, and then I start to question everything. I can't tell you what he does because that would spoil the book for you!!

The first half of the book feels a little slow. There is so much build up to the moment when Thomas and Petra finally meet. Clocking in at 535 pages, I think the book could have been cut down as some chapters are a little wordy. The second half is where the action picks up. You want to keep turning the pages because there are some moments that will pull at your heartstrings.

Rating: Give it a try


Note: I received a copy from the publisher (Atria) at the request of the author's publicist (Lucinda Literary) in exchange for an honest review.

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