The Man I Love is a deep, poignant story about friendship, love, passion, betrayal, and tragedy. It follows Erik Fiskare as he enters university, falls in love, and becomes a close-knit member of a small circle of friends. It is a very well written book that deals with the joy of young love and passion, but it also deals with serious subject matter that will forever impact these friends.
Erik has a keen interest in theater, and quickly becomes involved with Daisy Bianco, a talented ballet dancer. They are both young, but they have this soul searing kind of love that is deep and intimate. Simply put, they need each other. They have an intense relationship that is just as sweet and sensual as it is raw.
As the group of theater/dance students become closer, a tragedy rocks their peaceful, amicable world. One of their friends and fellow dancers comes to the theater with a gun and starts shooting. Erik, in an act of bravery and stupidity, goes down to confront the gunman, his former friend James. All he knows is that he has to get to the stage and tend to Daisy who is shot and bleeding out. When the last gunshot is heard ringing throughout the theater, the sound only seems to be signaling the beginning of the terror and damage that will ensue in the lives of those who’ve survived.
What starts out as a beautiful love story full of hope and dreams, turns into a dark, raw, and gritty story of the aftermath of tragedy. The pain, the grief, and depression that the characters experience is palpable throughout the book. I appreciated the author’s realistic approach in dealing with such a sensitive topic. The characters’ feelings are never glossed over or easily repaired. The book spans fifteen years and sheds light on what life has been like for Erik Fiskare. It is not a pretty story of recovery and moving on. It is challenging, arduous, and filled with memories that aren’t easily shaken. Relationships were destroyed, dreams were shattered, but the love was never truly lost.
While I did find the topic of this novel to be interesting, there were times when I found my interest waning during parts of the book. It is beautifully written with a great deal of description to enable the reader to properly visualize what was transpiring, however, there were times when I felt that it was a little bit too lengthy. With that being said, I would still recommend this book to other readers who enjoy an intense book with a story and characters that will stay with you for days.