A review of The Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon
The book that I have chosen for this month is a novel called The Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon. The novel is the story of Adam and Miranda who had been high school sweethearts during the 1960s and broken up over a betrayal.
It is now October, 2007 and Adam and Miranda, who are now both, in their late 50s have not seen each other since. As chance would have it they are both in Rome at the same time and have contacted a mutual friend who arranges for them both to have dinner with her. After the dinner, Adam asks Miranda to meet him the following morning in the Borghese Gardens and she agrees to meet him for a short walk. As their walk the following day nears its conclusion, Adam proposes that they meet each morning of Miranda’s three week visit so that they can talk and so that he can show her the city that he loves most.
Miranda agrees and their daily walks take them around the city of Rome visiting various sites including the Villa Borghese, the Campo dei Fiori, Trastevere, the Museum of Modern Art, the English Cemetery and The Pantheon. As they walk and talk we learn more about their youthful relationship, how it self-destructed and how that led them to become the people they are today. The story is a nostalgic look back at first love and how it shaped these two individuals who are trying to understand how they became the people they are and what the past means to them.
I have just finished reading this book and I loved it! Adam and Miranda are both sympathetic characters who are portrayed with a great deal of depth and while the reader feels badly for the pain that they both have suffered ultimately one agrees with Miranda’s conclusion that one cannot regret events from the past. Miranda concludes that she cannot regret not having had a life with Adam because having had a life with him would mean not having had the life she has. Miranda explains to Adam, “What I think of often is the mystery that if we hadn’t lived our lives exactly as we have, but I mean exactly, we wouldn’t have the children that we have…and the world without them is unthinkable”.
I also loved Adam and Miranda’s strolls through Rome and the descriptions of the places that they are visiting. I will be visiting Rome for the first time this summer and am anticipating experiencing the city described in this novel. This is a wonderful book with wonderfully portrayed characters in a beautiful setting discussing issues that we can all relate to. I recommend it without hesitation.
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