The Places I’ve Cried in Public
Author: Holly Bourne
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Synopsis from goodreads:
“Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry.
Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.”
I am a huge fan of Holly Bourne and I love everything she writes so I was super excited to delve into her latest book. But this one was so different when compared to her previous work, not only in the layout and format, but with the style and tone of writing. It’s obvious from the title that this isn’t going to be a happy story and I was prepared for some serious issues to be raised and a sombre read, but there were no light moments to lift your spirits – unusual for a Holly Bourne book which normally explores serious topics with a sprinkling of wit and humour for a lighter read. But as I read on with The Places I’ve Cried in Public, it became darker and darker and was far from the author’s usual story telling.
The story is split in two and they run parallel alongside each other with the present day Amelie reflecting on her past, and her relationship with Reese who is a guy she just met at college. She visits places she has cried in public and tries to figure out where and why the relationship went wrong, but it soon becomes evident that this was no normal loving relationship.
Amelie’s past with Reese starts off in a giddy romance with grand gestures and startling charisma, but as the past reveals itself and we see more of Amelie and Reese together, little snide comments drip in and suggestions and hurtful comments that soon make you realise what’s going on and this isn’t going to end well.
It was quite spine-chilling to read the past and see just how easily Reese turned Amelie’s mind against itself till she thought she was actually going crazy. He dropped comments that were subtle enough to go unnoticed by her at the time but powerful enough to stay with Amelie until she was suddenly doing all she could to please Reese and apologising for things she hadn’t done. It was quite horrific to read as I saw this character crumble and shatter all due to this pathetic boy who thought he could do as he pleased.
It was so hard to believe the girl from the beginning was the same as the one being slowly chipped away at by Reese. I found myself torn between thinking Amelie was stupid for not realising what was going on, but then I saw how easily succumbed she got when fantasy was made real and presented itself before her, bow and all. Reese was so charming to begin with and did anything to please Amelie and make her happy – who wouldn’t grab that with both hands? But when she was apologising over and over to him and cutting her friends out of her life just so she could please Reese, I thought she was delusional for not realising what he was doing.
Then I read an interesting bit between Amelie and her counsellor, Joan which said something about a person becoming addicted to another and to the relationship and what it was like initially. She spoke about Stockholm Syndrome and it was shocking to realise that in the short time frame of a few months in which Amelie and Reese were together, he had managed to create all of this with a person he just met.
The Places I’ve Cried in Public was honestly a truly upsetting story because I saw this girl get pulled down and under by this stupid guy and he ends up destroying a part of herself she has to slowly learn to rebuild. And what does he get? There’s no satisfying ending where we see the villain punished because this isn’t a fairy tale – it’s real life and these things happen to people over and over. It make me despair for the men and women out there that have had a piece of themselves crushed by another and once that piece has grown back, it will never be the same again, all because of this horrid person and what they did.
It’s a devastating story of how in just a few months, your life can be shattered and you never saw it coming. It warned me that there are skilful liars and manipulators out there and all it takes is for them to find you at the wrong time. Perhaps you’ve just broken up with someone, or a dear friend has passed and you’re grieving, or maybe life isn’t going your way and you’re vulnerable – whatever it is, it’s enough room for that horrid person to wheedle themselves into your life and let maliciousness take sprout.
It left me feeling very melancholy, especially with the last page where Amelie realises that she’ll never be the same girl again after what happened with Reese and my heart breaks for all the people out there that have experienced something similar in their relationships.
Prepare yourself for a heartbreaking story that is only too real in this day and age. Look after yourself and remember that you should never be made to do something intimate that you don’t want to do. Beware the charismatic good-looking stranger and if your friend warns you about them, LISTEN. Take care of yourself.