Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Books I've Loved: History is All You Left Me

This book offers one of the most realistic portrayals of grief I've ever read.  Everything about it felt real and raw and I related to it completely.

Griffin is mourning his first boyfriend who drowned after moving to California.  The book traces their relationship in the past, from the moment they realize they are in love and through the painful, but inevitable break-up when Theo leaves for college.

In a parallel narrative, the book explores Griffin's attempts to deal with his grief and the paralyzing guilt he feels every time he takes a step forward, a step away from the past he shared with Theo.

Theo's presence is felt in every page.  Griffin addresses him as if he is still there even if he can't see him.  He imagines Theo is watching his every move, something that weighs heavily on him when he starts finding comfort in Jackson, Theo's West Coast boyfriend.

Griffin struggles with OCD, and as his emotional state becomes more fragile, his compulsions start taking over and he pushes people away, even those who love him and may be able to help him.

This isn't always an easy book to read.  Griffin's pain and suffering is so vividly evoked, anyone who has felt themselves spiraling out of control will recognize the headspace he's in and know how vulnerable he is.  But it's this that makes the book so special.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.


  1. That does sound interesting, and very intense. Another one for the TBR list.

  2. Yeah, probably couldn't read too many books like this. I think I mentioned An Age of Madness already.

  3. Oh, this sounds like such a sad, intense book! A real heartbreaker.