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Expiration Dates

Each one of Rebecca’s books has an element of magical realism at its core. With my ever-present awareness of signs presented by the universe, I appreciate these small departures from reality that fuel the creative spirit and belief that there’s something more out there, even if it might be impossible to pinpoint what that more means.

On the surface, this is a story about finding love, a happily ever after that fulfills in ways that words can’t explain. And this novel does a wonderful job at sharing that narrative, just not in the way you might expect. There are so many different relationships explored throughout these pages. The variety of personalities and ways that chemistry can exist (or not) between two people is simultaneously confusing and encouraging. No matter how much we are who we are, a small (or sometimes not so small) sliver of our evolution changes with each person we encounter, in either a romantic or platonic capacity. And that accumulation of experiences and interactions shapes who we become as a person. It’s an underappreciated realization that we become who we surround ourselves with on a daily basis.

And that’s where this review takes a turn in a different direction—inward. It’s easy for us to believe or accept that the universe has some sort of fate already written for us. That’s the unspoken premise for this novel with the small sheets of paper that Daphne receives alongside each of her new relationships. The funny thing is, she never received one for the most important relationship in her life, the one with herself.

There are elements of this story that deserve to remain hidden, so that you are able to discover them for yourself as a reader. Suffice it to say, this novel is so much more than finding love on the outside. It’s really about discovering and having the courage to be the person you are meant to be. And the only one who decides that is you. We all have a choice. Every single moment of every single day. There is a seemingly inconsequential moment in this story that bubbled to the surface for me.

Daphne’s father was supposed to receive a solid bathrobe as a gift. Instead, it came as a paisley version that everyone else wanted him to return. Why shouldn’t he keep it and wear it? Those were his thoughts. He likes flowers too. It’s such a simple statement, but the underlying implications are a foundation for remaining true to who you are as a person. We might not be dealt a hand that we were prepared to play, but there is always a way to play it. There’s always a choice for us to make. Even if it seems impossible, that path ahead of us branches off in whatever direction we wish to go.

As usual, my review is less of a review and more of an emotional outpouring that shares how a story affected me. And that, in a nutshell and with a serendipitous twist, is what this novel is really about for me. We are all affected by each person we cross paths with throughout our lives. They all shape and mold us into the person we become. It’s both a privilege and a responsibility to be a part of that equation in someone else’s life. Even though there might be an expiration date on those external relationships in our lives, the internal one with ourselves lives on with every consecutive beat of our heart. And each one of those should be lived with the treasure that it is.

Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️☕️


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