You Could Call It a “Mystery” Book

It’s never happened to me with a book before.

(Movies, though, more times than I can count.)

I bought this one in May while on vacation but only recently started reading. It’s 482 pages. Published in 2016.

The plot was all brand new until about two-thirds in. That’s when something rang a bell. A sub-thread. One of the supporting characters. But I assumed it was just a familiarity with Sparks’ writing.

And yet the farther I get — my bookmark rests at page 233 now — the more I feel sure that I’ve read Two By Two before. The bell is ringing more often and more clearly with every turn of the page.

Which is wild. The biggest plot pieces aren’t something I remember. The drama, the conflict. Zilcho. And I have no idea where it leads from its halfway point, which is where I’ve paused, or how it ends.

But I do know how to explain this phenomenon.

It’s because the trauma we experience, not to mention the stress of post-separation abuse, affects our memory. It blocks us from recalling conversations we’ve had, shows we’ve watched, experiences we’ve lived while in the midst of chaos, worry, instability, upheaval, heartbreak.

I never expected to go through this with a book though. I’m a tried and true book girl. Who forgets what she reads?

Especially a fat, layered book which features a character whose behavior is quite uncomfortable and triggering—because it feels so much like behavior I’ve lived with myself. Gaslighting. Projection. Stonewalling, to name a few. Of all things, you’d think I’d remember that.

Unless that’s why I buried it…

“It’s a really good one,” the clerk said that day in May. She held it up as she completed the transaction, to make sure I saw.

I wonder if I agreed with her the first time I read it.

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