The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.7)
As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
The first thing you should know about The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth is that it’s heartbreaking and full of raw honesty that it will touch something in your soul. Shockingly, it is so much more than that. It’s warm. It’s uplifting. It’s got such heart. I mean that–you’re going to feel so much while reading this that I cannot even capture all these thoughts into one review.
Yes, it’s that good. It’s impossibly good.
And at times it is very, very difficult to read it due to the turmoil which comes with subject matters. There’s a balance to it that makes it work, though. The Things We Keep is not going to be for everyone but its honesty and sheer magic in the way its written. It has already earned a lot of buzz for its touchy subject, all sorts of human emotion and has also garnered a comparison to Still Alice.
As I’ve only read about a quarter of the way through in Still Alice (not because it isn’t good), I can’t say that the two should be compared. I will say that Sally Hepworth knows what she is doing in crafting this story.
So much so that I’m confident in saying your heartstrings will be tugged and it will leave you feeling a bit hungover emotionally.
I feel so incredibly honored to have been given the chance to read it. I mean, it had its flaws but overall it was one of those novels that you read and you just know it was a gift. Do you understand what I’m saying? The Things We Keep is a rarity and not something to be brushed over.
Breathtakingly gorgeous in all the pain and still is just an incredibly stunning read. Without a doubt it is one of the very best of 2015 and should be at the top of your to read list. I still can’t get over the fact that I was able to read it. I am haunted by it in many ways–that’s how you know it is a good book.
There will be no forgetting it anytime soon. And in all the sadness and the truth and the heartbreak of it, there’s so much love stitched into the pages and the characters. I found it to be a delight because they were incredibly real and it made it all the more upsetting and beautiful and any other emotion you can think of. I can’t really put it it into words but when you finish this book, readers, you’ll know what I’m trying to say.
Strength. Love. Heartache. It’s all here.
Because of the difficult nature of topic and the illnesses featured, I found myself thinking back to my high school years while I watched my grandmother slowly fade into dementia and further down the rabbit hole to the point where she often didn’t recognize me and it made me far more emotional than I planned.
With that being said: it may be triggering for some people because of this (and other things mentioned) and that’s why I’m going to say it won’t be for everybody.
But, there’s so much connection in it.
A lot of people will be able to connect with it in some way or another because a lot of us have witnessed our loved ones in such a manner that even the briefest of mentions will spark something familiar to you.
That is one of the most important things to note (aside from the standout characters): there’s something about The Things We Keep that will feel familiar to you. Do you hear me, guys!? DO YOU? Okay but honestly, that’s something I needed to get through in my review. I connect so much to the story Sally was telling that… ah, I’m just an emotional mess at this point.
I don’t want to spoil it. I’m not even going to list all the plots and the way the stories weave together because it takes away from the experience of it all. I think that the best part about this, besides what I’ve already told you, is the message on not to dwell.
Because you just… can’t. You can’t dwell on the bad in life and there’s something in that message alone that resonates with us all and will give you a good idea as to what to expect in the overall feel of the book. Don’t dwell. Don’t dwell. Don’t. Dwell. Don’t drown in sorrow. I mean–the tone in these messages is so inspiring and leads us down to the real heart and soul of it all.
And that ending?
Okay. Okay. I can’t spoil it. Stop rambling, Jessica. Let’s just go back to the characters for one minute before I wrap up my review and harass you to pick up a copy. All the characters are great–as I said, they are a real standout.
There’s strength. There’s love. There’s determination.
And how fun is Clementine?!
Every moment of this story is unforgettable and will leave its mark on your heart. Don’t hesitate to let yourself feel for it and embrace the beauty.
Also. Tissues. Come prepared, folks.