Title: Falling Together
Author: Marisa de los Santos
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Pen Calloway has a daughter she loves, but a life she doesn’t recognize. Six years ago, she left her best friends Cat and Will – or rather, they walked away from her. Since then, her life has been incomplete without them, and with her ten year college reunion coming up, she can’t help but think of them more and more. When Pen receives an unexpected message from Cat, one which implores her to come to the reunion, Pen feels compelled to follow Cat’s wishes, unsure of what she’ll find when she arrives.
Falling Together is a beautiful portrait of the ties that bind people together. From the beginning, it is clear that Pen is bereft without her friends, even though it has been years since they had any sort of communication. In some ways, she defined herself through Cat and Will; without them, she still hasn’t quite figured out who she is or what she is doing. Pen is an endearing lost soul; while her daughter gives her purpose, Pen hasn’t been able to form a lasting healthy relationship since leaving her friends. In many ways she has been damaged by them, unable to heal until she finds some closure. Her love for Cat and Will is sweet and pure, and it’s rewarding to see Pen come into her own over the course of the novel.
The best part of Falling Together is the characters. They are so realistic and wonderfully flawed, they leap off the page. Will is thoughtful and protective, but also has a shocking temper that leaves Pen reeling. Cat is the force that binds the little group together, but she’s also a bit destructive. It’s never said in so many words, but behind her thoughts and actions, I saw someone who was not only self-destructive, but inflicted damage on those around her. The final blow is when Cat abruptly cuts ties with her friends, leaving Pen and Will to pick up the pieces.
Falling Together is beautifully written, but I’ll admit, Santos’ prose doesn’t have the poetic quality it did in Belong to Me or Love Walked In. I found myself a little disappointed because I did love those books so much, but I quickly came to appreciate this novel for its own unique qualities.
Above all, Falling Together is a novel about relationships. de los Santos picks apart most of the relationships in this book and shows great insight into the different components that make up a relationship. She demonstrates how a person needs different things from the people in his or her life, and how relationships blossom, but also how they can wither and die. It’s written with a lot of wisdom and grace, and makes for a really interesting read.
While Falling Together’s plot was a bit predictable at times, it’s the characters and their relationships that really make up this novel. While I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the author’s previous books, in the end, it was a satisfying read. I look forward to seeing what Marisa de los Santos does next.