This is my second Jojo Moyes book I've read. I have to say, Jojo did not disappoint. To me, not as great as Me Before You, but still really amazing. I was unexpectedly crying by the end of the book, finding out how Sophie and her husband ended up. Jojo Moyes has once again astounded me with her amazing writing, the flow of the story, and the way she shows how cruel our world can be. How people judge constantly for what they believe in when they don't know the whole story.
The Girl You Left Behind is about two girls who live in separate times, telling their story about being left behind by the man that they love. A man set out to war. Another, unexpectedly dying after years of happy marriage.
Reading, I thought the title was telling me something about the two girls, but it's also a french painting that has journeyed through tough times, somehow in the possession with both Sophie and Liv. I actually looked up the painting. Unfortunately, it's not real xD but I really wish it was.
The first part, set in 1916, took my breath away. It was set during the first world war. Now, ever since I've learned about the world wars in World History at school, I've become really interested in it. That really gave this book points. I loved how Jojo described life there, with the Germans taking France and how poor the people were. I really felt their struggle through the pages. How little people ate and how cruel the German's were back in the day. Reading about Sophie really... hurt? I hurt for her. She was such courageous woman. Sophie did everything for her small town. Everything. She did all that while still trying to feed her own family, while trying to get the German's at a safe distance and at the same time helping them so they don't disturb the other townspeople. Her life my have been hard, but she held her head up high, not giving into the Germans.
But one decision she doesn't have control over, one mistake, and the whole town bails on her. No one talks to her, no one goes to her hotel anymore. All she wanted was her husband. That's all Sophie asked, and very few, very few, understood that.
The second part of the book is set almost a hundred years later, in 2006. Liv, a woman who's husband died, has been barely living for four years. But one step in a bar and four dates later, suddenly her most precious painting is being taken away from her. Liv, stubborn and hurt, will do everything she can to protect her painting that she's held dear to hear since she can remember. But as she finds out more about The Girl You Left Behind, she finds that it's more than just a painting. Sophie has come to be a real person, the good and bad now seen in the painting. And she finds it harder and harder to let it go. But while she's fighting for her painting, more and more people turn on her. Her somewhat friend, her neighbors, and she pushes away the guy she actually started to really care about.
I really admire Jojo, how different she writes in each time period is phenomenal. In 1916, she writes how one would if they were living in that time period. Whereas in 2006, her writing was more modern, more of how someone would write today.
She also brings to the table a huge point through this book. I don't know if it was meant to be this way, but I love how the main theme was how poorly people treat others. We may think they know everything about what's going on from tabloids, but in truth, we know nothing. Tabloids twist people's words all the time, making things seem more scandalous than what they really are.
In 1916, they saw a woman serving German's at her hotel and immediately let their guards up with her, thinking the worst, when really, she couldn't help it. They saw a woman with lots of money and practically threw tomatoes at her, but all along, she wasn't as evil or selfish as they thought she was.
In 2006, they saw a girl trying to keep a painting that she 'stole' and started sending nasty letters. They saw a girl in the tabloids as someone evil and stopped working with her, walking away from her husband's memorial.
Today, we see a girl not wearing the latest fashion and think she's ugly or weird. We see someone with glasses or braces or acne and we think they're ugly. We see someone with their heads down all the time, hoodie up and overing their face. Better not talk to them, they're weird. Honestly, it's hard not to judge, but also hurts others. We don't know what other people are going through, their life, their problems. We judge celebrities too, by what the tabloids say, even though there's probably a 45% chance they're telling the whole truth. I'm not saying I don't judge people, I do, and I'm not proud of it. But what I'm saying is that this book really really showed me that there should be less of it.
If you'd like to get The Girl You Left Behind on Amazon, click here.
I really recommend this book to those of you who life meaningful books. Not in the love way, though there was a lot of that, too. But like I said, about people around the world and how we treat others. Also, anyone who enjoys Jojo Moyes' book will really like this one :)
Hope you all liked my review! I'll be back soon with another!