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The Girl You Left Behind - Jojo Moyes
am 19. Mai 2014
I was looking forward to reading 'The Girl You Left Behind', as the blurb sounded really promising and I was not disappointed in any major way. The story of Sophie Lefevre was compelling and it ultimately put you in her shoes. It was gripping from the first page onwards. Jojo Moyes created a character that is both believable and complex, being put in a difficult position and having to make a decision, Sophie surprises you more than once.
The thing that really bugged me were the mistakes in the German language, which is not Jojo Moyes' fault but the publisher's. Things like 'der Krankenhaus', 'Sie können nicht berühren die Frauen', 'Wie heist?' and 'Diese Tur. Obergeschosse. Grune Tur auf der rechten Seite.' among others simply shouldn't happen. It takes away credibility. I'm not talking about typos but major errors. It made me think that the Google Translate results would probably have a better outcome.
However, the first part of the book was brilliant. Once 'The Girl You Left Behind' moved on to the second part, namely Liv's story, the novel lost its edge a bit. The switch from a narration in the first person to narration in the third person wasn't quite homogenous. It was harder to empathize with Liv than with Sophie. After a while you got into it though and it became easier.
The writing style was flowing and good to follow. However especially at the beginning of Liv's story there were a couple of pages and paragraphs featuring relatively short and clipped sentences that made me resent reading on a little.
Another thing I want to mention is the fact that there was only praise for 'Me Before You' on the cover. Okay, that would probably still be understandable as it is THE bestseller of Jojo Moyes. However, 8 pages of praise for 'Me Before You' inside the book right at the beginning? Are you kidding me? Am I going to read 'Me Before You' or 'The Girl You Left Behind'?! There is not a word or one statement of appraisal for the book you hold in your hands in it. That put me off quite a bit. Again not Jojo Moyes' fault but the publisher's.
All in all it was a nice read! The Epilogue solved all open questions and added a nice end to the tragic story of Sophie Lefevre. For me it was the first book I read that addresses a painting as more than just a painting. The people behind it and the story connected to it. The quote that got stuck in my mind is 'Sometimes the history of a painting is not just about a painting. It's also the history of a family, with all its secrets and transgressions.' I hope that there will be some people who, after reading this book, will see paintings in a different light and maybe wonder who the human being in an ancient painting was and how her or his life might have looked like.