Title: The Story of Before
Author: Susan Stairs
Rating: 3.5 stars
This is a difficult book for me to review as I loved it up until a certain point - but once we reached the pivotal moment that the whole story was leading up to, it made such a huge, painful impact that I could no longer continue to read for some time as I was crying so much.
Yes, we were warned 'something bad' was going to happen and that it would involve a death, but nothing could have prepared me for what actually did happen. And I can't really go into what did happen without spoiling it for those of you who haven't read it yet, other than to say it was hugely triggery for me and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it ever since.
The 3.5 stars I've rated this novel is for the writing and character building alone. It's a beautifully written book, but in all honesty it made me feel sick to my stomach and incredibly distressed, which isn't necessarily something I want from my reading material.
'The Story of Before' touched me on a very personal level and my rating reflects that. When I read a book I'm transported inside the story, so much so that I feel as though I'm actually there. And this book, as well written as it was, took me somewhere I didn't want to go. Somewhere painful and dark, somewhere I've been trying my hardest to move forward from. The story itself has no similarity whatsoever to my own personal situation, but the 'bad thing' that happened triggered a response in me that I wasn't expecting.
But if I put aside my own personal feelings when it comes to 'The Story of Before'? My rating would have been a good, solid 4.5 stars. A beautifully written, but deeply disturbing novel.