So this was the book that I started first this year. It was the book for a book club that I joined recently. And I have to admit that I think this was the kind of thing that I needed to start off 2020 with. There’s a lot to be said about starting off the year with something pretty simple and this book is pretty simple. There’s a lot going on in the book, but there’s also not a lot going on. It’s just the life of a college student. I’ve been that before, so this book felt a little bit like returning to those days. Of course, I didn’t take the classes that Selin took. I didn’t have the life that she had, but there was a feeling to it that felt like nostalgia.
Because of how this book’s story works, I’m not going to be having a spoiler-free section. Half the fun of this book is reading it yourself and remembering your own life as you’re diving so deep into the thoughts and life that Selin has.
So let’s jump into it.
The ‘mundane’ aspect of this book isn’t boring, but rather something that I found incredibly fun. I’m usually not down for creative non-fiction or fiction that’s more realistic, but as I’ve been looking at my life at the beginning of this year, I’ve found myself looking back again and again at the life that I had before this and the places that I would like to be again. Of course one of the things I missed about college was the easy way that days just went. There wasn’t a lot that I had to focus on besides my classes. That same sort of flow came through in the book where days and weeks and sometimes months just bled together. Time didn’t have the same kind of importance as it does at other points in my life.
Really my favorite part of this book is that it’s just about exploring the relationships of the characters involved in the book. The time spent on those scenes, even if it doesn’t really lead to the next step that Selin takes, it shows you about those people in the book. You learn about the quirks that they have and what really make them them. In a way, this book feels like I’m meeting friends again. I’m learning about the ways that they behave and the ways that they’ll talk to me. I know that Svetlana will probably want to drag me to something new and exciting, but she’ll be a good friend and go to things I want to go to too. I know that Ivan is going to hang out for a long while and talk about things that might go over my head a little bit.
The relaxed nature of this book was the opposite of the normal books that I’ve gone to escape from whatever has been plaguing my mind. But this book did a good job of keeping my head away from thoughts of my own life because of how invested in Selin’s friends and life. In a way, it was more effective. I would read small chunks of it and then think about the life that Selin was living what might happen next. I was just as excited when Ivan sent emails. I would reread the sections, thinking about what kind of messages I would have sent if I was in a similar situation to the two of them.
And on top of that, it had me thinking about my college life and everything that I was doing during those years, the life that I lived and what I could bring back from that time in my life. And ultimately, I think this book was great for me as a person. Not that it solved any of the problems that I was facing, but it made me rethink my life and what I wanted to do. It’s been a good thing to do here, in the last year of the decade (since in my book, 2021 will be the actual beginning of the decade, not 2020). Regardless, I’m still young at 25, but I’m getting to a point where I should probably be looking forward more than just at the now. And this book reminded me that the now and the past and the future are all important in their own ways. I mean, I already knew that, but sometimes you just need a book to yell at you for a second to make you remember that there’s a whole life out there that you need to be living.
Although I already had goals for writing this year, it was while reading this book that I really wanted to commit to all of these things that I wanted to do. I stopped looking at the things that I should probably be doing based on what friends and family have told me. I started relooking at all the things that I said I wanted to do. All the things that I had said during college. I mean I’m only 25. College wasn’t that long ago really. But what’s the point in going through the day to day if I’m not chasing something that I’m proud of?
And maybe at the end of the day, whether or not the book was here to tell me a story or just show me a glimpse of a life, I found my way back to the life that I wanted to live.