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The story starts when Hadley Sullivan is about to take a flight bound to London. It wasn't a trip she's looking forward because she was compelled to attend the wedding of what she feels as her estranged father. Her parents separated and for any child, no one can argue that this is the most painful thing anyone can experience. Hadley never wanted to attend her Father's wedding because it signifies the end of his relationship with him. He will be starting a new life, a new family, which officially meant leaving her behind.
Hadley however was forced by her mother to attend the wedding. For some reason, Hadley missed her flight. Without telling her mom, Hadley was able to book herself on the next flight. This is when and where she met Oliver. Hadley and Oliver were together while waiting for the plane and during the entire flight. It was during the entire trip when Hadley shared her life and her purpose of going to London. Before the two parted ways, there was obviously something developing between them.
The book was initially presented to me as a love story. However, I felt that much of the book was all about Hadley and her father. The book highlighted the often unsaid sentiments of every child who grew up with the pain of having a broken family. For me, the book related more the struggle of a father and daughter in the midst of separation. Some of the conversations in the novel that struck me are the following,
Hadley: Soon he'll have a new baby, a chance to do it all over again. This time, he can better. This time, he can be there.
I was never in the shoes of Hadley or any other child who have to underwent the pain of seeing their parents marrying another person. The words used by Smith made me feel the sorrow and anxiety of a child who was longing for a complete and happy family.
Dad: I think this guy would be happier too, if you let him go. (pertaining to a firefly) You know what
they say, If you love something set it free.
Hadley: What if he doesn't come back
Dad: Some things do, some things don't. He said, reaching over to tweak her nose, I'll always come back to you anyway.
Hadley: You don't light up. Hadley pointed out, but only Dad smiled.
Dad: I do when I'm with you.
Dad: Love isn't supposed to make sense. It's completely illogical
Would I recommend the book?
I feel half hearted in answering this question. Let's just say that I was happy because I decided not to purchase the more expensive paperback. I admit that there's a degree of disappointment thriving in me now.
Allow me to explain the things I can't appreciate.
The entire plot happened in more or less, 24 hours. Flight-wedding-funeral-hotel, somehow unbelievable to squeeze in everything in almost one day.
Some of the events in the story were quite unbelievable for me. The impulsiveness of Hadley as she explored London, for the first time and on her own, only to find Oliver. I just can't accept the idea that she was able to find Oliver knowing that London is not a small place after all.
If it was really love at first between Oliver and Hadley, Oliver shouldn't have left Hadley in the arrival area of the airport. It wasn't after all hard to ask for Hadley's contact details. Perhaps I'm just overreacting or I can't buy the idea of losing someone intentionally just to test if some serendipity or destiny exists.
On the positive side, I appreciate the comprehensive narration of Hadley's unsaid sentiments over her father. Hadley became the perfect portrayal of how a typical teenager struggled the separation of her parents.
If I would rate the book, I'll give it 3 out of 5 stars. I had disappointments of the short love story but I was surprised to find a depiction of a rekindled father-daughter relationship.