Title: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Published: February, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Purchase: The Book Depository
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.
I don’t know why I did this to myself again. That’s not to say that this isn’t a good book—I felt immersed in Griffin’s grief, and loved all of the character building, both in the present and the flashback chapters—but there is a definite depressing undertone. I had to pick up another feel good book mid-way through this to give myself a break.
With chapters alternating back and forth between the past and the present, I struggled initially trying to find a balance. Having something interesting begin to happen in one time period, then being sent back to the other became frustrating. I would have preferred if the ‘history’ chapters were spaced randomly so you didn’t know when to expect one.
Watching Griffin and Theo’s relationship begin had its sweet moments—but it seemed like there so much sex in this book. It wasn’t particularly visual, but still, these guys got it on a lot more often than I was expecting. However, it did add to the dynamics throughout the story.
Griffin’s OCD plays a big part in the formation of his character—which I liked. I’m enjoying the way mental illness is being brought to the forefront more often now. Having my own OCD issues, I found it easy to relate to some of the things Griffin does and appreciate the struggle he goes through just functioning. But with Griffin being pretty much obsessed with Theo, it felt like there was a dependence in their relationship, Griffin using Theo as a crutch to handle his OCD. I didn’t like the way he was merely mollified rather than trying to help with his issues. Griffin’s fixation on avoiding odd numbers and walking on people’s lefts really hindered his life, but Theo seemed to let Griffin get away with it rather than making an effort to help him.
After Theo moved away and their relationship faded, Theo’s new boyfriend, Jackson, appeared, creating an obstacle in Griffin’s master plan for him and Theo to reunite. The disdain was real. Jackson and Griffin seemed like an impossible pairing. But with Theo’s death starting the book, Jackson became Griffin’s only link to Theo’s new life—the two of them using each other for comfort. I think this is where the book got better for me. The two worlds of Theo’s colliding created something interesting and allowed us to feel like Griffin had found an outlet for his grief. I wasn’t completely on board with all of his actions, though. Griffin comes off as quite a user, not really thinking of others, or if he is, not caring.
Inserting a twist towards the end gave me a smile, especially needed after a slog through the depressing bits. Still, I wouldn’t say I loved the way things played out. Believable, yes, but it leaves you just a bit empty. At one point I was hoping for a paranormal or hallucinogenic episode leading to an ethereal appearance from Theo, but no such luck. With only reality to greet me, I felt like I needed a pick me up book to get me excited about life again.
People wanting a book that’ll make you smile, but stomp all over your insides at the same time.