"Everyone knows how much I love you.
All your gestures have become my gestures.
Have become my gestures."
'Everyone Knows How Much I Love You' by Kyle McCarthy follows a thirty year old writer named Rose as she navigates parallels between her past and present with the best friend she betrayed in high school.
After moving to New York, she ends up reconnecting with that former friend, Lacie at the suggestion of someone they both know. When she's as drawn to Lacie during their meeting as she'd been in school, Rose manages to convince Lacie to let her move in.
Though the pair have an unpleasant history, they grow close again and at least on Lacie's end.. things seem to be almost like they were before. Almost. Though it's questionable as to whether or not that's ideal.
"I did swerve. But it wasn't a flinch. It wasn't a mistake. There was a column of rage in me, a crackle of blue flame, clarifying."
Soon after moving into Lacie's home, Rose takes a job tutoring wealthy kids on their SAT scores. Her spare time is spent working on her novel, a story about the details of the betrayal all those years ago. Enamored with the friend they share, Lacie's boyfriend.. the past and present begin to merge.
Rose is an intelligent, introspective character. She's artistic, but seems to struggle constantly with her self-image.. and that plays a huge role in her ability to understand those around her. It's ironic, that she envisions Lacie as being this woman who moves through life having such impact on the people she comes into contact with and never realizing it, when Rose herself carries that same sort of mysterious charisma. The behaviors differ, but the results are similar.
"Home. I wanted so badly to believe in the myth of us, in the myth of all female friendships, the deep ones, the lasting ones: that they were more true than romance, more fun than children. That they were a place to live: home."
I really enjoyed the external conflicts between the characters in play, but even more.. I enjoyed the 'appearance' of inner conflict. I say 'appearance'.. because its actual existence is extremely questionable. There's definitely the comprehension of right and wrong, but often a lack of investment in those feelings and it's interesting to watch evolve.
All the characters we really spend any quality time with know how to wield their skills to manipulate others. Some do so almost benevolently, while others are just careless with them. Putting things in motion without thought of the outcome, only to be unhappy or upset when they do inevitably lead to some sort of collision in their personal lives.
There are also those who know exactly what they're doing. They enjoy the feeling of power it gives them and they like to think they don't mean for things to play out in certain ways, but they still have the urges to do it all over again.
"A man who is involved with a woman who burns is not interested in nice or trust, no matter what he says, no matter if he writes I don't understand."
As a behavioral study, their social circle is fascinating and despite some less realistic consequences, I hate to admit their actions are not so uncommon. I could see people I've known.. relationships I've witnessed.. in this novel. And it's hard not to say at the end of the day, that most things probably turned out as they should have, knowing everything that took place along the way.
If you enjoy thought provoking stories that delve into the complexities of relationships of all kinds, particularly where envy and longing plays a role in the machinations from all sides.. you should give this novel a read.
BARNES & NOBLE
PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
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