Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#REVIEW - What It Was Like by Peter Seth - #NewRelease TODAY, Sept 2nd, 2014!


“It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.”

So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged, and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.

It is the summer of 1968 and a young man takes a job at a camp in upstate New York before starting his first semester at Columbia University. There, he meets Rachel Prince, a fellow counselor who is as beautiful as she is haunted. Their romance will burn with a passion neither of them has ever known before…a passion with the power to destroy.

In the tradition of Endless Love and Gone Girl, What it was Like is an intimate, raw, and revealing journey through the landscape of all-consuming love. It announces the debut of a remarkable storyteller.

5+ Stars!
WOW! WHERE has this author been hiding??? This is an outstanding book! BRAVO! What a story! It is one I will never forget! I cannot sing enough praise about this book! This book captures your attention from the second you open the cover and start to read the very first page, to everything in-between, and all the way to the end! You are not going to put this book down, and I truly mean it! You may be tired of hearing this same ole expression of 'I couldn't put this book down' a million times, but believe me when I say I could NOT put this book down, I truly mean that, and you will end up feeling the same way. I wanted to read this, I had to read this, I had to know what was happening next. I was obsessively reading this 462 page book in less than two days! (Yes, I lost sleep!) I wish it were even longer, the story was SO good! I was GLUED to the story inside this book!
What I am going to tell you about this book only touches the surface, and not all of it, either. There is a lot to this book, but first, let's start with how this book begins.
Briefly here, the book starts with an Editor's Note. It goes on to say it was discovered among the paperwork/belongings of a Supreme Court Judge who recently passed away after serving for twenty-eight years. It goes on to say, 'this manuscript has received minimal editing as they want to preserve the writer's grammar, pronunciation, spelling, capitalization, etc. It was deemed preferable to publish it with as little editorial tampering as possible, so that the voice of the perpetrator can be heard. There is no point in publishing a book with (sic) after every third sentence. WOW! Amazing, huh?! They wanted the true writer's voice to be heard. 
With that being said, I looked on the side of the book to see if it said Fiction, and nope, I did not see it. Inside the in the first few pages it does say, "This book is a work of Fiction, and any relation to . . . ", the usual blurb that is in all Fiction books, but when you flip the page, you see a cover letter from this man's attorney in which he states this 'exhibit' is in advance of the appeal, in the interest of justice. (Quoting from the book.) It's meant as a supplement to the trial transcript, not a replacement for it, and the attorney also says this is a truer account of what happened.
Well, that sure got me questioning it as it seems so convincing! Even in the back of the book there is a Publisher's Note. It goes on to give a little more information about the manuscript, that the writer reviewed the galleys and this edition of the manuscript . . . Hmmm? I'm still wondering if this really is Fact or Fiction, or maybe a little of both? What a book! I guess you'll have to read this one for yourself to try and figure it out, "IF" you can. This might just be one of those stories we'll never know the truth about, but we sure can enjoy the ride this story gives us!
This young man tells us that he never got to tell the court 'his side of the story', and this is what this letter is about. He felt it unfair that no one allowed him to hear HIS voice, and his lawyer never let him take the stand to tell 'his' side of the story. There were reasons why the attorney's felt he should not tell his story, but he feels that was the wrong decision. He needs to tell what really happened, and this is his chance.
So he starts his story. As we read in the 'Description', he says the following: 

“It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.”

The first half of this book takes place at Mooncliff Summer Camp where he meets her and falls in love immediately. What can I say but I am a sucker for camp stories! I went to camp several times as a kid and I LOVED it! I lived for summers to come so I could go to camp! I could relate to everything in this book about camp! It brought back a lot of memories, too!
This story is narrated in his own voice, which was what he was after since he never got to tell it in the courtroom, but one strange thing is we never learn his name. 
He had just graduated High School and it's the summer of 1968, the summer before his first year in college at Columbia. He had scholarships, so this is one smart young man! In the meantime, he looked around for a summer job to make some money to put away for school so he could study instead of having to worry about working a job, too. He ended getting hired as a camp counselor at Camp Mooncliff. He had never gone to camp as a kid, but he felt he could do the job. He would be in a cabin for eight weeks with kids ages 10-12, and he would also have a second Counselor in the cabin with the kids so they could help each other out. He arrived, got to his cabin, and met his fellow counselor named Stewie. 
That same day the rest of the kids arrived one by one, groups of kids, and some stragglers, all as the busses arrived. They had their boys all together and were ready to go to the Mess Hall for their first get-together.
That night was when he saw her. Their eyes locked, then she looked away, flirtingly. He was smitten! He asked Stewie who she was. Rachel Prince. Stewie told him to forget about her. She teases guys to death and nothing ever happens. No. He could not leave her alone. Four days later they officially met. They had been square dancing with their kids, and both left to go outside because they were so hot. They struck up a conversation, and that was IT! The beginning of their relationship. 
The odd thing was the more people saw these two trying to hide their interest in each other and sneak around the camp usually at nighttime, the more the other counselors warned him about her. She's related to the owner, but they also said she was moody, self-centered, dangerous to be around, she was mean, etc., but they didn't give any further explanation. He didn't care. He was already in love with her. They had a lot of great times together at camp, and I really enjoyed this entire part of the book. I was just as sorry as the kids and other counselors were when summer had ended and everyone had to go home for school. 
So he and Rachel continue their relationship. She is now a Senior in High School, and he is a Freshman at Columbia. The problem was going to be the distance from Columbia back to Long Island to Rachel's house. That proved to be true, but he came home on public transportation every single weekend. I was amazed by his diligence. His studies became difficult because he was not getting his homework done as she demanded his full attention.
Problems started to arise here and there. The trouble was with her family, her mother, especially, and then her mother's live-in boyfriend who became her step-father. They treated him like they didn't like him, and they confronted him a few times, too. They had their own issues and troubles of their own, mainly selfishness, but a lot of problems with Rachel, too, so they claimed. He always felt so sorry for her, the way she had been treated while growing up, and he could see it now, but he also saw a lot of problems with all of them. Still, Rachel always looked to him for comfort, but slowly some of this started to change.
The rest of their love story is for you to read. I am stopping here. There are a LOT of twists and turns to come. Some things are just crazy! I'll leave you with another quote from this book.

"How what started so innocently became so . . . un-innocent . . . how things became twisted - even now, after so much time has passed, my mind can't quite grasp all the events even over time. Time. Why am I suspicious of "hope?"

Get this book! You won't regret it! Soon you'll be singing the praises of this book, too! The writing is truly amazing; it's mesmerizing, holds your interest sentence by sentence. The story itself is full, interesting, written really, really well. I can truly see this becoming a Bestseller as long as people know this book is out there! I know I'll be suggesting this book to everyone I can! (I already have been!) I'll admit I have read some great Psychological Thrillers, but this book - this book TRUMPS THEM ALL!

I have a little funny story about this book and how I got it. This book caught my attention at NetGalley, and I requested it from the publisher, The Story Plant, to read and review it. I am also a part of this same Publisher's program which is called 'Spread the Word Initiative'. Guess what? I ALSO got a copy of this book in the mail from The Story Plant a day or two AFTER I requested it at NetGalley! Actually, it turned out to be an advantage to have both the ebook AND the paperback, really! When I had to do things around the house I could not ignore, I carried my Kindle with me so I could keep on reading. When I sat down, I picked up the paperback book! It was great! So when I say I was 'glued to this book', I literally was! It was with me in every possible way!
One more thing. I usually always read ebooks, but I would highly suggest purchasing the paperback copy of this book so you can see the full page letters from the attorneys. They looked so convincingly real! With the ebook, they don't make as much of an impact as they did in the book. Enjoy reading this one! You won't forget this book anytime soon! It stays with you long after you are done!

ebook: $7.69

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