“It wasn‘t the ghosts. It was the hauntings that mattered.“We Are Okay (Nina LaCour)
Marin is in her first year of college in New York and does not want to think back. She does not want to remember what has been lost to her and what she has left behind when she fled from her Californian hometown months ago. But while Marin does not feel able to reconnect with her past yet and certain important things and people have undoubtedly been lost forever, her best friend, Mabel, won’t give up on her. Even after countless unanswered calls and messages, Mabel keeps trying to reach out to Marin.
So, when Marin is about to spend Christmas and winter break all alone at college in New York, as far away from the Pacific Ocean as she can get, Mabel comes to visit. And Marin has to look back, whether she wants to or not. In doing so, she also has to begin to heal. And to realize that in life good things and things that hurt can rarely be separated. Instead, they often mix up in one and the same person.
“The trouble with denial is that when the truth comes, you aren‘t ready.“We Are Okay (Nina LaCour)
I do not want to tell you too much in advance about what is happening to Marin and Mabel because I think this book’s magic mainly consists of exploring Marins history, her thoughts, feelings and the reasons for her grief in the process of reading. But what I can already say is that while her story is about sadness and grief and some sort of uprooting on the one hand, it is a story of friendship and love and the importance of people who care on the other hand. It is, in all it’s sadness, a beautiful story full of hope and healing that made me think about how to detect what really is important in life. In the end, I came to the conclusion that, in many situations, simply letting people go should not be considered the right thing to do.
“I wish her more happiness than can fit in a person. I wish her the kind of happiness that spills over.“We Are Okay (Nina LaCour)
I read We Are Okay in less than 28 hours, which is fast for me (especially as I obviously am no native speaker of English). And I nearly cried more than once while reading it, which is uncommon for me. Nina LaCour’s way of writing, the composition of the characters, their relationships and the urge to explore Marin’s past had me on the hook from the first page. I wanted to know what exactly happened back in California so badly that I could not wait for Marin to bring up enough courage to rethink the events that made her leave.
I picked this book up as my pre-holiday-read because it is set in winter and around Christmas. And I am happy that I did because in my opinion, it is about many values we should remember, not only during Christmas time. But Christmas always provides an occasion to do so and think about them.
While I loved the book‘s christmassy elements, I also enjoyed the contrast Nina LaCour creates between the cold and snowy New York winter and Marin’s memories of her life under the Californian sun.
“If this were a short story, it would mean something.“We Are Okay (Nina LaCour)