I don’t really know where to start with this novel. I’ve seen everyone raving about it, and I was desperate to read it, but now I’m sat in front of my laptop struggling to think of the words to describe just how beautiful and affecting it actually is.
The novel begins with a letter from the author. She tells the reader of her own experience with breast cancer. This isn’t just an author who is writing about the subject, this is someone who has lived it. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried, and hard. Laura’s writing is so straight to the point – so raw – that I constantly read in awe (and tears).
The story itself focuses on Jess, a young, single mother who is diagnosed with breast cancer when her daughter is just weeks old. Her life is forever changed and faced with the very real possibility of death – she begins to write letters to her daughter, wanting, in some way to be there for her. After.
Laura’s own experience shines through the writing. Through Jess’ words and thoughts the author’s own feelings exist, and it is in the small details that the power of this novel truly resides. It grabs and shakes you by the lapels, making you realise just how lucky you are. It provides perspective in spades; and I, and no doubt many more, can be accused of taking my life for granted. I Wanted You to Know made me think about those small things, the ‘what ifs’, in an entirely new way. The letters Jess writes to Edie are an incredibly powerful way of translating the depth of loss into the here and now.
One of the most beautiful elements of the novel is the solidarity of women surrounding Jess. Her relationship with her mother will be recognisable to many daughters, and I think that everyone should have a friend like Gemma, who lights up the page with her warmth and friendship. For me, the love these three women have for one another shone brighter than the love story between Jess and Edie’s father, Jake.
It is without doubt the most heart-breaking book I’ve ever read. I cry quite easily, I’m in touch with my emotions and I feel deeply. But this was on another level. The writing is beautiful, heartfelt and honest – it is perfection.
I’m a huge fan of Laura’s previous novels and I absolutely love the way in which her characters, complex flaws and all, are portrayed. They’re not perfect. But who is?
I now have to now make the sad announcement that Missing Pieces has just been knocked from the top of my favourite list by I Wanted You To Know. It is, without doubt, Laura’s best and most powerful novel yet.
I Wanted You To Know is currently available to pre-order and will be out tomorrow, Wednesday 3rd October.
Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you them in person, as you grew. But it wasn’t to be.
Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her.
Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.
From best-selling author Laura Pearson comes her most devastating book yet. Honest, heart-wrenching, and emotionally raw, I Wanted You To Know is a true love letter to life: to all its heartache and beauty, to the people we have and lose, to the memories and moments that define us.
About the Author
Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She spent a decade living in London and working as a copywriter and editor for QVC, Expedia, Net a Porter, EE, and The Ministry of Justice. Now, she lives in Leicestershire, where she writes novels, blogs about her experience of breast cancer (www.breastcancerandbaby.com), runs The Motherload Book Club, and tries to work out how to raise her two children.
*I received an ebook from the publisher, Agora Books. The decision to read was my own, and this review forms my honest opinion.