Faded Lanterns

One of the greatest diseases of this world is not to mean anything for anyone

Mother Teresa

Loneliness is not about being alone. There are times when you feel alone even if there are dozens of friends waiting for you out there. But this is not a new thing that I am telling you.

I decided to start my article with this quote because I felt like the book I am going to tell you about is based on this feeling. It was written by Cristina Oțel , a young author whom I just discovered, this being the first book written by her that I have read. Although the book was published at Quantum Publishers in 2016, I just now had the chance to read it.

The book tells the story of Sorina, a complicated teenager who doesn’t have the mood to be preoccupied about all the classic teenager problems like boys, going in the club or something like that. She is too busy gaining the love of her mother and father. She has had the bad luck to be born as the daughter of two doctors. And life is not always easy, especially when, as a child, you must understand that sometimes patients need them more than you do. And beside that, Sorina is unhappy because she doesn’t feel the appreciation of her mother. She never felt like she did something good that would make her mother proud. But things start to be even more dramatic when her parents decide to leave for job to Bucharest and leave her with an unknown 23 year old young man without even consulting her or letting her know he is coming.

She feels abandoned. She doesn’t understand why. As a matter of fact every single question in her head starts with why. Why do her parents not love her, why does she has all those nightmares, why do her parents keep secrets from her? And even though at the beginning you seem to be waiting for a simple teenager story, you soon start realising that it is much more than this. Her story is complicated, twisted and hard to process at first, hard to understand that this things can really happen.

After her parents leave the home, she is stuck with Adrian in the house. At first she is being rude, but after spending some time with him she realises he is an intelligent, funny man and actually starts to feel affection for him. She feels like he is the only one in her life who appreciates her, who makes her feel less lonely. Who is there for her unconditionally. But she refuses to make hopes cause she is aware that he will sooner or later leave too and she will be again alone. But she is not capable of fighting her feelings, even though she cannot admit to herself that she fell in love. Or, better said, she cannot admit to herself that they start to fall in love with each other.

They seem to be pretty happy living together, but their world falls apart when her parents come home and she finds out that her mother is going to die in less than a month. And the only thing she can do is to cry and refuse to believe it. But the destiny seems to have the last word in the end, and she is left with the leaving of Adrian and even more questions that she had before. She has to face the challenge of gathering every single piece of the puzzle in her life and put them together to find out the truth about her life, to find herself or, better said, to rediscover herself.

I think every single one of us has had at least one moment when feeling that the world is not enough. That we are surrounded by people yet we are alone. Sorina and Adrian are trapped into a life they don’t like, but which they have to love. And they must have the strength to choose between what is easy and what is right. Probably most of us would choose what is easy. Choosing what is right means emotional strength to give up your own comfort just for closing our accounts with the past. And this is never an easy thing.

Cristina Otel has created some very strong characters. They have seen death into their life so many times, they have known abandonment and rejection, yet they decide to go on. Each of them is reacting in his own way. Sorina directs all her frustrations into blaming others, screaming and being rude, while Adrian hides them behind a smile that covers all the sorrows that he has gathered into his soul. They seem to be like two opposite magnets, but yet they are a perfect match one for each other. Like they have been destined to be together. They take long in realising this, and they try to act mature, to avoid being hurt and abandoned again like they were before.

Sorina, although is only seventeen, she is more mature than most of her colleagues, but she always finds herself into the complicated problems they have. She is many times put into the situation of interviewing into their problems for fixing words thrown away and acts of wickedness. She doesn’t have many friends, but she doesn’t need it. She knows that friends are few and, even if sometimes wants to get out of this circle and she is unhappy with them, she understands that they are the sparkle that light up her life and that without them it would only be routine.

What I liked about this book is the fact that I found myself in it. Not into the story of Sorina but into her relationship with the others, and especially with Adrian. I enjoyed the funny lines she invented so naturally as if it would be a walk in the park. I also liked the fact that is not a typical teenage story. I admit that I was a bit disappointed in the beginning because of this, but I realised after the second page that it is a special story. The character of Sorina, her way of not caring about other’s opinion (except her mother’s) somehow inspired me. I think that I, we, could learn a lot from her. A lot about life. even if she is so young, she has probably lived more events than a normal person would live in an entire life. Not that it would be a positive thing for her, but in the end, these events are the ones who make us who we are. Even if we are hurt, even if a part of our soul is taken by someone who leaves, even if sometimes we are empty inside, the suffering makes us stronger, more mature, more wise. And even if it sounds weird, I think it teaches us to appreciate happiness more. To understand that beauty is in simple things and not taking anything for granted.

This book is about finding yourself, about accepting who you are and accepting yourself. I also see it more or less like a building novel, cause the main character evolves over the course of the book. I feel that some of the author’s personality was transferred to Sorina and some of the feelings are her’s. Which is absolutely normal. Cause that’s what literature, art is. The vision of the author over the reality. Reading this book I laughed. Yes I laughed although her life wouldn’t be the perfect model of amusement. But Sorina has a way of being that makes you smile in even the worst situations. It rarely happens to me to laugh like crazy alone in my room. Well I learned it is possible. With a book anything is possible. Sky is the limit when it comes to literature.

© picnicontheshelf, December 14, 2018

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