This story is a follow-up to Bright Side, which was an amazing read. If you haven’t read that yet, I suggest you stop reading this review, read the review I wrote for Bright Side, and get yourself a copy of Bright Side – because this review is going to have major spoilers.
Gus is a twenty-something rocker dude who is trying to get over the loss of his best friend, Bright Side. Some people seek therapy to cope with loss, while Gus self-medicates with a lot of alcohol, cigarettes, and briefly uses cocaine. On tour with very little else to calm him, these three things, combined with meaningless sex, seems to do the trick…or at least masks the pain for a while. Unbeknownst to Gus, his behavior has made it possible for Scout to obtain much-needed employment…as Gus’ babysitter. Scout, or as he refers to her, “Impatient”, is getting over something also – and in this darkness, they come to find the light in each other.
Why didn’t I give this five stars?
Although I absolutely loved Bright Side, I found that there were a few things in this story that bothered me:
1. Although Gus has an addictive personality (he uses alcohol & cigarettes heavily), Gus begins using cocaine…but surprisingly, stops almost instantly. It is really hard to believe that someone with an addictive personality would be able to give such an addictive drug up so quickly. It seemed as though he had a harder time giving up nicotine than he did cocaine.
2. We are introduced to someone who has caused Scout pain in the past – but it didn’t seem like there was closure to this negative relationship. Yes, restraining orders were filed – but that isn’t a “magic fix-all” and the accused usually comes back for more. This guy didn’t at all, which seemed unrealistic to me, especially with how he pursued the relationship initially.
3. At one point in the book, it was mentioned that Scout doesn’t like making eye-contact. But then in another, it is mentioned that she communicates non-verbally with Gus through eye-contact. I found this inconsistent because when someone is hesitant to make eye-contact, they won’t suddenly make it part of their communication pattern. Maybe every once in a while, but not constantly, and not with someone they clearly don’t like very much.
What did I like about it?
1. I enjoyed the organic development of the relationship between Gus and Scout. I don’t like when characters develop relationships instantly – and Gus and Scout seemed to realistically fall in love.
2. I liked the re-introduction of characters from Bright Side. It has been a while since I read the first book and reminding me of the characters and who they are was helpful.
3. The writing was beautiful and the editing was well-done.
4. The way Holden describes the relationship between Gus and Bright Side – and Gus’ feelings about his loss was really beautiful and heartbreaking.
5. I loved the relationship between Gus and his mother. It was really lovely.
I know there is more to what I loved about this story and I am sure there is more that you’ll love, too!
Take care & happy reading!