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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart (Audio)

Posted by Irish in Review3 Comments

Publisher: Random House Audio (Audio), Three Rivers Press (Paperback)
Publication Year: 2006
ISBN: 073932327X (audio), 1400098076 (paperback)
Format: Audio
Pages: 320
Audio Length: 7 discs (Appx. 8 hours)
Narrator(s): Staci Snell

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Myth of You & Me by Leah Stewart is the story of what it means to be a friend. It begins with Sonia asking her new friend “What would your life be like if you’d never met me?” That line sets up the theme of this novel which is set 8 years after the friendship that was Cameronia ends when Cameron leaves Sonia on the side of the road in an out of the way gas station. What happened that was so tragic so earth shattering that the two friends parted ways? Where they ever really friends at all? Or was their closeness just a myth that Cameron made up because she longed for a place…for a person…to belong to. The story of Cameron and Sonia is told in flashbacks….moving from the present to key moments in their lives. It is Cameron reflecting on what was after she receives a letter in the mail from Sonia…the first contact that they’ve had since the incident. At first Cameron ignores the letter but her boss won’t let her give up and so when he dies he gives her a quest, deliver a package from him to Sonia….and deliver it in person. So Cameron sets off to find Sonia and along the way maybe she’ll find herself as well.
I really loved this story. The prose was a bit haunting at times as Cameron looked back on her friendship. As she began to pick apart events in order to try and determine what was real and what she may have made up. This book had me hooked from the first page. There was a seamless transition between the past and the present. As a reader you never once questioned “where” in time you were. Cameron is a strong character but as the book progresses you learn that she is flawed and human and so easy to relate to. I thought that the ending was a little to pat for my tastes. I think that I would have liked to see something deeper. But at the same time it was also a good ending. It left me wanting more. But as Cameron herself says near the end (which is also one of my favorite passages of the book):

My father once told me that a happy ending is just where you chose to stop telling the story. So this is where I choose to stop. More things are still going to happen, of course, some good, some bad. Some things never get any better. When people die they stay dead. None of us knows why we love, or why we stop loving, or why everyone we love we lose.

This I think is very profound….and for me it adds a bit of reality to the story. The story isn’t just ending because its over but because its where the character chose to stop telling it. As if the whole book was just a long conversation between you and her and that now it has come to an end and its time to part ways.
I would love to see this story retold from Sonia’s point of view….to see how she saw the friendship that was Cameronia. And how her life changed when she saw Cameron driving away from her that day. But sadly I don’t think that is to be since Leah Stewart seems to have disappeared. The Myth of You & Me was first published in 2005 and her official website doesn’t look like its been touched since. Which I think is a shame because Stewart is an amazing writer and I’ve love to seem more books by her.
About the narrator:
Wow. I am thoroughly impressed with Staci Snell. I think it was her voice and way of reading that really helped to suck me into this story. Her voice was smooth and steady and was able to capture the various voices and accents of the different characters really well. There was never a time when I had to wonder who was speaking. There were times when I found myself coming up with reasons to drive places….or to take the long way to get somewhere….because I wasn’t ready to break away from how she told this story. This is a narrator to look for.

3 Responses to “The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart (Audio)”

  1. Tricia

    I read this one a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I’ll be on the lookout for the narrator–she sounds great!

  2. Irish

    Tricia – She really was. Gonna have to see if my library has anything else read by her.

    JKaye – its worth the read. I highly recommend.