We Are Okay

Are There Lesbians? Yes

What Happens? Struggling after the death of her grandfather, Marin must confront the reality of his last days, and the people she left behind.

The Verdict:
This was a very tough book for me to read. I had to read it in small doses and while alternating it with something else. This isn’t because it is bad but rather the opposite. We Are Okay is filled with emotion and I found it very easy to identify with Marin, the main character. Perhaps this is because she has done something I often dream of doing – running away and leaving everything behind except for her phone and wallet.

We Are Okay is going on my list of books you must read if you want to know what I’m like, along with Notes of a Crocodile, and Master and Margarita. It is the kind of book where even if I have never gone through the exact same problems as the main character, I still find myself written out onto the pages. At the risk of sounding incredibly pretentious, it is like Nina LaCour has looked into my heart and written in allegory what was found there. In many ways, We Are Okay is the novel I want to write. Amusingly it bears a slight resemblance to a story that I have been working on for a few years – it is partially set in California, there are make outs on the beach, someone runs away from home and, of course, there are lesbians.

There is an emotional integrity to the novel that can only come from grief and if you read the authors note, you will find that this is the case with We Are Okay. Nina LaCour wrote the novel while dealing with her own grandfather’s death. By her own admission, LaCour’s relationship with her grandfather was not as complex as the one in the novel, but the complexity of Marin’s relationship with her grandfather is identifiable in most relationships. Especially in the doubt and guilt that comes after a loved one has died.

There is more to We Are Okay than grief, That is, by the nature of the book’s very title, the whole point. It is about, if not becoming good, then becoming okay. It is about the slow healing process that comes after not only losing a close relative, but also finding the ability to love again after a failed relationship. It is a very hopeful book, and one of those books that poses the thought that there is more than a single love of our lives, that there are, in fact, as many as there are people we love. I think it’s particularly important to place emphasis on this idea that counteracts the one that so many Hollywood films feed us – that there is one person and only one for each of us. It’s a potentially harmful message and something I’m still trying to unlearn. We Are Okay does this in a poignant and tender fashion. The end of a relationship is dramatic, yes, but we can all find the ability to love again.

I cannot recommend We Are Okay highly enough. From the front cover to the last page it is a complete artwork of a book. I am glad it is in the world.

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