Book Review: Living by Lise Gold


I really liked the premise of this book. Ella is a famous actress who is beyond distraught and can no longer live with the pain of having lost her twin sister. On their birthday, she decided she is going to end her life by entering the ocean and never coming back. It just so happens that she decided to do that near Cam’s beachfront backyard. Cam is a yoga studio owner that saves Ella.

The story ended up being a lot lighter than the subject matter warranted. There are some conversations and therapy sessions for Ella. But it was never angsty at all. I would have liked there to be more drama around this. There weren’t any setbacks or anything. Once she is determined to heal, she starts healing. That’s that.

There were a lot of lengthy paragraphs and long unnatural bouts of dialogue.

The secondary characters were OK. Raphael seemed more of a convenience and in there for plot progression only. Vanya was a super quirky sidekick. A lot of the times I get bored when things are too heavily focused on secondary characters but I genuinely enjoyed every time Vanya graced the pages.

The relationship between Cam and Ella was sweet. There was a lot of chemistry. It was cute that Cam waited for Ella to be ready and make the first move. Very chivalrous.

There was a part in the book where Ella talks about everything bad that happens just kind of does so in a quick and jarring fashion. That she had never experienced loss before and was not prepared for it. Having lost my father suddenly, I could totally relate. The finality of it. No reset button. No do-overs. The way it was written made me believe this author had experienced this personally.

Having said that, at times it seemed too preachy about mental health. Full on PSA about it. And this felt less like the character advocating this and more like a point being made by the author as it came in so abruptly and lengthy. Not through natural progression or dialogue in the story.

There was quite a bit of steamy action. It was OK. Ella seemed uncharacteristically bold intimately despite it being her first girlfriend and lesbian sexual experience. I felt like it deserved some kind of comedic comment from Cam about how it’s always the shy ones or something in order for me to buy into it. But it didn’t have that, so yeah.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I was really into Lise Gold’s stories in the beginning. But recently they haven’t been meeting my expectations. Fireflies is still the best.

I recommend this to people who like to read about romance, celebrity relationships, overcoming depression, surviving suicide, little angst, yoga, and red-tailed hawks.

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