Before We Say Goodbye by Louise Candlish

Olivia and Dean’s mom, Maggie, was the one who’d up and leave without a word and return when she felt like it. What started out as a weekend turned into weeks, months and a year, so much so that they named her “The Deserter.

The story begins with Maggie’s demise and she leaves behind an address for her daughter Olivia. The address belongs to Richie, her one true love. Olivia leaves behind her husband and two sons in search of Richie hoping to make peace with a past she’s never forgotten.

What the author succeeds in is depicting Olivia and Dean’s reluctance to forgive their mother for deserting them. In their dialogues, you get rage from Dean and confusion from Olivia,and for someone who is depicted as manipulative, Maggie’s decision to share Richie’s address with Olivia serves her best in showing that obsessing about the past can destroy the present.

I do wonder what path the story would have taken had Maggie lived to see Olivia seek out Richie.

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