The Life You’ve Imagined, by Kristina Riggle, is a very good book with a hopeful ending. Throughout most of the book, however, I kept wondering if the characters would make it to the next page mentally and physically intact, let alone to the next day in their story.
Brittle is the word that first comes to mind to describe this book. The characters all seem to be on the edge of disaster, but when disaster does strike, it is at unexpected moments.
The story revolves around three high school friends, twelve years after graduation. Two of them left town, but one never moved on. Now they are thrown together for a summer.
Anna is a successful lawyer, shaken by the recent death of her mentor at her law firm. She returns home to her mother’s convenience store to recuperate. Maeve, her mother, hasn’t moved on from her husband’s abandonment of his family twenty years ago. Cami has come home to her childhood home, still inhabited by her alcoholic father, after she is thrown out by her boyfriend for breaking his trust and has nowhere else to go. Amy is the one who never left, but she’s lost weight and is engaged to the younger son of the richest man in town, a developer.
The book tells the story of the summer when Amy gets married, and Anna, Cami, and Maeve have to confront who they were, who they are, and who they will become.
Overall, The Life You’ve Imagined is a very good book, telling the story of success, ambition, and the ultimate hollowness of both if you leave yourself behind. How do we create ourselves, and how are we in turn seen by others?
Five out of five stars.