I didn’t read any of the book description before I read this book nor had I read any book written by David-Matthew Barnes. I had however looked the author up to see what genre he wrote. I will hold my hands up and say I rarely read gay/lesbian stories. However, I figured that if I want to be a decent book reviewer, then there’s bound to be times when I’m gonna have to step outside my comfort zone and read books that I normally wouldn’t think of reading.
When I first started reading “Stronger Than This”, I didn’t know what to expect but a heart wrenching, emotional tear jerker wasn’t it!!
Charlene and Daniel both experience the devastating loss of their partners who they loved unconditionally. Their paths cross when they attend a grief support group and a friendship born from understanding begins.
It took me an about two hours in total to read the book and in those two hours I experienced shock, anger, pity and understanding for the two main characters and some of the supporting characters. Oh, and an “OMG Shut up!!!” few minutes for the SOS group facilitator. I think my response to her communication would have been exactly the same as Charlene’s.
What did I like:
How the story is told:The book is written so the story is relayed through text messages, social network messages, emails and letters. It works so well.
Characters: It was nice that there was only a handful of characters in “Stronger Than This”, even better when they each had their own tale which was told briefly but with enough details that let me know who they were and why they were being brought into Daniel and Charlene’s lives.
Storyline twist: There was a one thing that happened which surprised me because I genuinely didn’t see it coming and when I read this particular bit, I was shocked and saddened.
Emotions & Questions: I don’t know if David-Matthew Barnes has actually experienced this kind of loss. If he hasn’t, then he’s done one hell of a job with this book because he has captured the emotions and emotional questions written in the letters and online conversations perfectly.
What I didn’t like:
Ok, so it’s not so much what I didn’t like, more what I would like to have seen more of: I would like to have seen more of the friendship developing between Daniel & Charlene. Most of the book is about the letters they write and yes, there is the few online chats they have, and there is references to the couple of dinners they share, but I would have liked to have seen more.
Who would I recommend this book to?
Anyone that enjoys an emotional read.
I don’t usually pay much heed to book covers, or pass any comment on them but the cover for “Stronger Than This” is spot on for the book.
One last thing:
Tell your loved ones you love them. This book shows the importance of making sure your other half or equally as important person/people know how much you appreciate and love them.
Totally enjoyed this book, would definitely read more from David-Matthew Barnes. I was torn as to whether I should rate it a 5 star or drop it to a 4 star because of how I felt on the friendship development as I mentioned above. After sitting and thinking over it for a while, I decided it was gonna have to be a 5 star, purely because I did enjoy the book so much.