I Have Lost My Way – Gayle Forman

I Have Lost My Way is one of those books you need to savour. At the beginning of this book I didn’t know any of the characters, just as Freya, Nathaniel and Harun didn’t know one another. Yet as their stories unfolded I saw myself in each of them and began to feel like one of their people. I don’t think it matters with this book if you can relate personally to any of the character’s specific circumstances and why they find their lives colliding that day.

What matters is that all three have lost their way. I want to tell you all about their individual stories but it’s best you gradually get to know each character as you read. Told from all three perspectives, this is a story of love, friendship and discovering who you really are.

They each feel invisible in their own way. They all feel alone in their lives, whether they’re surrounded by adoring fans, a large family or no one at all. Their stories shine a light on the lengths we can go to in order to try to fit into the mould that others have created for us when we know deep down our shape looks nothing like that of the mould. Freya, Nathaniel and Harun share one fear: ‘if people knew the truth about me I would truly be alone’ so they hide parts of themselves from the world. I don’t know about you but this aching loneliness resonated with me.

I’m sure they and I aren’t the only ones who have ever felt this way, and that’s one of the strengths of a Gayle Forman novel. You feel. You feel for her characters and ultimately your glance turns inward and you examine yourself. There’s a feeling of inclusion in Gayle’s novels and as her characters slowly let others in and in doing so expand their lives, you feel a corresponding expansion of your own. You may begin reading with little or no understanding of where a specific character is coming from, and you may even find yourself judging them preemptively, yet as they bare their soul your heart opens.

There are some things I’ve noticed in all of Gayle’s novels. Regardless of the overall theme I get sucked into the story almost immediately, generally by the end of the first page. There’s at once a simplicity and complexity to her writing; easy to read yet with a depth you fall into without realising. I fall in love with her characters, idiosyncrasies and all, and find myself thinking about them long after I finish reading their stories. They have the ability to change me from the inside out.

Favourite Passage (of many!):

“To be the holder of other people’s loss is to be the keeper of their love. To share your loss with people is another way of giving your love.”

Best Description of Books Ever: “little empathy-delivery devices”. 💕

Content warnings include abandonment, homophobia, mental health and suicide.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster (Australia) for reminding me why I love everything Gayle writes and reigniting the need to devour her entire back catalogue while I wait for her next empathy-delivery device to imprint itself on my heart.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A powerful display of empathy and friendship from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of If I Stay.

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from home to find the boy that he loves, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City after a family tragedy leaves him isolated on the outskirts of Washington state. After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven’t been able to confront, and together, they find their way back to who they’re supposed to be.

Told over the course of a single day from three different perspectives, Gayle Forman’s newest novel about the power of friendship and being true to who you are is filled with the elegant prose that her fans have come to know and love.

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