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Everything After

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

The biggest void in one’s personal life can arguably be portrayed as an unpursued passion.

There is something unrelenting about the wondering, hope, and what if questions that haunt a person who turns away from what’s in their heart to pursue an alternate path, no matter how altruistic, considerate, or seemingly right that choice may be.

This underlying theme resonates throughout each of the characters and choices in this novel. These thoughts and circumstances don’t discriminate based on age, gender, or socioeconomic status. The heart wants what it wants. And often we can’t fully understand or appreciate the consequences (good, bad, or otherwise) of a choice until we make it. But what a courageous step it takes to actually make those decisions.

The story of Emily and Ezra is the focal point of this novel, but the way Ms. Santopolo draws the reader into other characters’ lives (Ari, Robert, and Tessa) does well to reinforce that underlying and powerful theme.

While reading this novel through the eyes of all the characters, I came to appreciate how each longed to process everything happening in their hearts and minds on their own. Locked away in their own thoughts, it wasn’t until something nudged them past a tipping point before each realized that support was available from those surrounding them.

As someone who retreats to a safe space inside to diagnose, analyze, and process (often overdoing it) any circumstances that call for a deeper understanding, this story and the author’s way of sharing it helped me appreciate the value of open and honest communication. Even if the act of sharing what’s in one’s heart is so much easier said than done, seeing the messy but genuine way that the truth unfolds helps the reader live the scenario through the eyes, actions, and emotions of another, recognizing that perhaps the anxiety, pain, and uncertainty is worth what waits on the other side of those unsettling emotions.

Whether it’s music, writing, painting, your profession, or an unnamed emotion that pushes you toward something more in your life, the heart knows. Listen to it with kindness, openness, and acceptance. And trust that everything after will fall into place exactly as it should.

Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️


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