4 out of 4 stars
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This Nearly Was Mine by Nancy Farkas, a work of fiction told in the format of a memoir, follows the life, loves, and losses of Annie. The story, a first-person narrative, relates the events that revolve around a life-altering trip to Spain Annie took in 1980 that had lasting effects on her life and relationships for the next thirty years.
Farkas utilizes the literary devices of flash-forward and flashback allowing Annie to provide readers with glimpses into her life including her present and her past. The story began in 2006, with Annie’s daughter visiting Spain and looking up Annie’s old friend Francisco whom she met in 1980. Consequently, Farkas flashes back to Annie’s life before her trip to Spain. From Annie’s point of view, Farkas introduces a host of characters including Annie’s family, friends, and cheating fiancé in New York City. Broken-hearted from her fiancé’s indiscretions, Annie decides to travel to the resort area of Costa del Sol in Spain where her parents have an apartment to recuperate and heal emotionally.
Traveling with her best friend, Annie visits historical and amazing places in Spain, dines on authentic cuisine, and meets a whole new cast of characters on her adventures. Through Farkas’s descriptive, flowing narrative, the reader experiences Spain along with the two friends. Among Farkas’s new characters were Gustavo, Pablo, and Johann: handsome young men that two young women traveling alone were likely to attract. But the most important relationship came when Annie meets Francisco, a handsome, well-spoken Spanish man who is the concierge in her apartment building. After months of flirtation, Annie moves past her broken heart and begins a whirlwind affair with Francisco. The summer comes to an end, and Annie must return to New York. Following Annie’s decision to leave Spain, Farkas takes us through the relationships and decades of Annie’s life. These events are told through the flash-forward and flashback technique as Annie remembers and relates her experiences.
This Nearly Was Mine provides a poignant look at love and its lasting effects on Annie even as time and distance separate her from the one she realizes she still loves. I enjoyed this aspect of the story because it exhibits that people have a huge capacity for love and it is possible to love many people throughout life. The story also shows that the choices we make shape us as people. One thing that I did not like, the time jumps were sometimes hard to follow, but for the most part, this literary technique was appropriate to relate the memories of a lifetime.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this story to people who enjoy memoirs, autobiographies, or fiction based on real life. The focus on interpersonal relationships from a woman’s perspective makes the book more appropriate for female readers, but there are lessons to be learned for everyone. In the words of Farkas, “the life lesson is that we should not expect too much from life or from ourselves.” Other lessons that manifested through the telling of Annie’s story: love can transcend distance and time, those we love can let us down, and our self-worth and confidence should not be dependent on others. Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely, and I read it all in one sitting. Farkas utilized interesting vocabulary, built characters with depth with which readers could empathize, and created a work of fiction full of life lessons.
This Nearly Was Mine: A Novel
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