Jun 13, 2010

Belong to Me

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

My rating: 5 stars

From the back cover: Cornelia Brown surprised herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to move to the suburbs with her husband. Her mettle is quickly tested by her impeccably dressed, overly judgmental find in suburbia. With Lake, another recent arrival, Cornelia shares a love of literature and old movies - as she forms an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman and her perceptive, brilliant young son Dev.

This follows Santos' first book, Love Walked In. I described parts of that book as absolutely breathtaking and this one surpasses even that. Just talking about this book makes me stop, take a breath and sigh happily. For me the mark of a good novel is to love a story, but the mark of an excellent novel is to feel like part of the story. I wanted to climb into this story and sit there forever. So yes...I gave it 5 stars.

I was a little worried because it'd been so long since I read Love Walked In, but while some of the same characters are in this novel, it doesn't pick right up where the other one left off so it wasn't an issue. Speaking of characters, the author did an amazing job with her character creation - I loathed some of them, laughed with some of them, and cried for others.

There were a couple twists in the story I wasn't expecting, but the whole journey of it was the best part for me. It was full of snippets of wisdom, and is now one of my favorite books to quote from. I mean, look at this one about fall:

The next day turned out to be the first day of fall, one of my favorite days of the year. I'm not talking about the actual autumnal equinox, which had come and gone a week earlier and had felt pretty much like all the summer days preceding it. What I mean by the first day of fall is that day when you suddenly understand with your whole body that the season has changed. When the air feels snappier against your skin and the sky's blueness turns wistful, and the humming of insects shifts pitch, and you just know like you know your own name that summer is over. (pg 53)

Is that not one of the best descriptions about fall?

There were also a few quotes that were really thought-provoking for me. For instance:

...although I must say that until that moment, I'd never found Mona Lisa's smile particularly interesting or even particularly a smile...I understood what probably everyone else already knows about the woman in that painting: we are drawn to her not because of what the smile gives us but because it gives nothing. We are waiting to get past the smile. We are waiting - we've spent centuries waiting - for the woman to speak. (pg 103)

Wow, right? I mean, looking beyond the image of the painting, isn't this what happens in those moments? You know, those moments where you're right on the edge of something amazing happening, and you're waiting to find out what it is.

There were also a few quotes about love and marriage that resonated with me as well.

But then she would slide an egg onto his plate, he would pour her a cup of coffee or reach for the remote control or loosen his tie, and she would find herself swept up, engulfed, possessed, stampeded by desire. (pg 351)

Talk about the essence of loving everyday life, huh? I adore this sentence because it's those kinds of moments I look forward to with the mister - and also those moments that I think are the easiest to overlook.

"Yes. It's easy to feel like real life has only happened when we've been together, but then this happens, and I see it's all real. I'm just one part of [his] story." (pg 355)

So true for me too! Ben and I have been in each others lives for so long that I'm sometimes surprised when I hear him tell a story I haven't heard before. I forget that there are things I'll still learn and that I don't know about him and his story.

And finally, one of my favorite parts, near the end of the novel,

But I've found that if you insist on goodwill, if everyone insists on it together, goodwill comes. I've found that love can be a decision. Forgiveness, too. (pg 385-386)

Love can be a decision. This brought me back to my wedding day, because that was when Ben and I made a choice to love each other - we made a decision to spend our lives together and to keep trying, choosing every day to continue to be together and love each other.

*Sigh* I loved this book. Loved. If you've read Love Walked In, your next move should be to read Belong to Me.

Have you read it? What did you think? Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

(Photo: this is glamorous)


Diana Mieczan said...

Hey you finished the book!!!!...Good for you sweetie...Ohhh it sounds so good...I have a book list and I always add more and more titles...and mostly from your reviews:) Those are amazing:)
Happy Sunday my dear!

Mandy said...

I loved both of the books. I read them a year or so ago. I really do need to dig them out and reread them.

Amber said...

Couldn't agree more with love being a decision - it's a choice we make every day!

And sometimes Eric tells me stories about himself that I haven't heard too and I'm always like, "oh". After 6 years together I feel like we've been together forever! Haha

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I loved both of these books! You did such a great job reviewing it!!

Kyla Roma said...

Oh I love the excepts you posted here! I've added both of them into my goodreads so I don't forget to grab them next :)

Brittany said...

Yes, thanks for the tip - can't wait to check both of these out!

Nora said...

Adding both of these to the must read list =) Thanks for sharing!

EmbellishedbyEmily said...

Just thought you would love to know -- Our power went out Tuesday night so Pete and I went out to Borders -- where I promptly purchased both "Love Walked In" and "Belong to Me." It'll be excellent reading for when I'm sitting ocean-side in Mexico for 7 days :)

Thanks for the suggestion!!!

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