How do you recognize the love of your life? Do you have butterflies in your stomach? Do you see showers of sparks and fireworks as soon as he steps into the room? Or, is your big love composed of something quieter?
Annie longs for nothing more in her life than someone to love her with his whole heart. With Holden, this wish seems fulfilled, and the two build their own world. But how much pain can happiness bear? When something utterly shocking happens, Annie’s life becomes unstable, and nothing is as it once was. Then, she unexpectedly bumps into her teenage love Seth, and her life is completely thrown off balance—especially when fate intends its own tragic story.
From the Editor:
Because You’re the Love of My Life is a story of love, heartbreak, and more love—romantic and otherwise. As a senior in high school, our protagonist, Annie, takes charge of her life, and she bravely separates herself from a difficult mother and home life, and from recent heartbreak. She moves across the country—without financial or familial support—to attend college at Harvard. “I felt at home in Boston in a way I never had . . . This was right for me,” Annie says.
And, it is true: she blossoms personally, academically, and, then, professionally. Though she fumbles at times in ways that seem utterly human and familiar, she forges friendships, commits to a relationship, and navigates through profound tragedy.
Annie narrates from a point well past when the events of the novel took place and with the perspective gained from that time. Yet, Sarah Kleck renders Annie’s narration so vividly that it seems as if these memories are unfolding in present time. Sarah Kleck’s devotion to Annie’s story shines through sharply written dialogue, authentic detail of culture and place, and a cast of richly rendered characters—among them Grace, Annie’s sassy best friend, and the various loves of Annie’s life.
Because You’re the Love of My Life made me wish I could accompany Annie beyond these pages, and it left me hungry for Sarah Kleck’s next novel.
– Rebecca Friedman, Editor
“Good evening, what can I do for you?” The pharmacist greeted me at the counter.
“ . um . . . need a laxative,” I said embarrassed. I would’ve preferred to pick one on my own, but I didn’t have a clue which was best, so I went straight to the pharmacist.
“How long have you been constipated?” she asked, unfazed.
“About three days.”
She nodded. “Are you drinking enough fluids? Do you exercise and eat a healthy diet?”
“Yes,” my voice was becoming stiff, “normally my digestion works just fine.” Couldn’t she just go and get the stuff? I didn’t feel like discussing my bowel movements with her. This was downright humiliating.
“Well, for acute constipation, the drugs for that should only be taken over a short—”
“Just give me something that’ll help me go to the bathroom by tomorrow morning.”
“Fine,” the pharmacist answered and went off to get my laxative. At that moment, I heard a strange clicking sound. I turned around. It was Holden, on crutches, and he had a big white cast on his left leg.
“Hi,” he said with a big smile. At least he seemed happy to see me.
“Hi,” I forced a smile. “How’s your leg? It looked pretty bad during the game last Saturday.”
“Clean break,” he said, gesturing toward his leg. “The good news is,” he continued with a sly grin while pulling a crumpled-up prescription from his jeans pocket, “my doctor prescribed the works for my pain.”
Just then the pharmacist returned with a box of Dulcolax in her hand.
“Have you used this before?”
Oh no . . .
“Yes,” I answered quickly, hoping she’d shut her damn trap and let me pay before Holden saw what I was buying. My wish was not granted.
“Just take one tablet this evening. That’ll soften your stool overnight. After six to eight hours, the constipation will have loosened up.”
Oh God! Take me now!
While I blushed beet red, I could see Holden looking at me from the corner of my eye—with the broadest grin you could imagine.
I’m gonna die!
“If this is a particularly bad case of constipation,” the pharmacist continued mercilessly, “you can take two tablets. Don’t take more or you’ll have diarrhea.”
What the fuck was wrong with this woman? She wasn’t a doctor, and this wasn’t a goddamn doctor’s appointment!
She packed the little box into a small plastic bag. I dared to hope it was finally over—but, no, she started right up again. “Your intestines will void completely after intake, so don’t expect another bowel movement for two to three days.”
What have I done to deserve this?
Since I couldn’t think of anything to say in the face of this humiliation—especially in front of him—I just nodded silently while my ears were burning.
The pharmacist rang me up and handed me the bag with a cheery “Have a good evening.” Then she turned to Holden. “What can I do for you?”
I didn’t dare look at him. I mumbled a goodbye, squeezed by him as quickly as I could, and headed for the door.
“Bye, we’ll get together sometime,” he replied, while clearly trying to suppress a grin. “Oh, Annie,” he called after me before I could complete my escape from this hell.
I stopped on the spot but didn’t turn around. “Yes?” my voice was trembling with shame. I shut my eyes.