Title: Always Something There to Remind Me
Author: Beth Harbison
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 4 out of 5
Erin Edwards was completely in love with her high school boyfriend, Nate. But after their bad breakup, she did her best to move on with her life. Twenty years later, Erin has a daughter she loves and is in a relationship with a good man. But when he proposes to her, all Erin can think of is Nate, and it takes her back to her teenage years and makes her wonder about the one that got away.
Teenage love is often dismissed as ‘”puppy love”, but Beth Harbison takes on an interesting question in Always Something There to Remind Me. What if you met your true love in high school, but weren’t emotionally mature enough to deal with the depth of your feelings at the time? That’s the situation Erin Edwards is in. She’s always known that Nate is her one true love, and she’s accepted that she won’t find love like that again.
Erin’s a great main character. She’s emotionally authentic, so I really felt like I could sympathize with her. Even when I wanted to tell her “it’s been twenty years – MOVE ON”, I could still really understand the depth of her despair and where she was coming from. As readers can imagine, Erin is mildly obsessive, but I appreciated that she was frank about it and realized she was being ridiculous at times.
Always Something There to Remind Me jumps between present and past, from Erin’s current predicament to her high school relationship with Nate. While I really appreciated Harbison’s attempt to show the reader Nate and Erin’s special relationship, instead of telling them about it, this part of the novel didn’t really work for me. Over and over again, the reader is told how emotionally deep their connection was, and how adult their feelings were for each other, but I really didn’t see that in what Harbison showed me. Nate and Erin were constantly fighting, and they never seemed happy in one another’s company. The deep feelings didn’t really seem all that different from any other high school relationship, and frankly, Erin was whiny and difficult as a teenager.
That being said, I did love the idea that Nate and Erin had this real, lasting love that neither of them were emotionally mature enough for. Because of my issues with the novel, though, I was continually asking myself if that was actually the case, or if Erin had been telling herself that for so long and glorifying Nate in her mind so much that she had fallen in love with him all over again as an adult.
With my issues with Always Something There to Remind Me, you might think I didn’t enjoy the novel, but I actually did. I appreciated the small twists and turns Harbison wrote into her novel (though the overall story is rather predictable) and I thought Erin was a very well written character. I read this book after a long day when my brain was tired, and it was a perfect choice.