I have never read a book like this.
First off, I am so glad that the paperback edition of this book removed the little blurb saying Jeremy “falls in love” with them both, because that’s very misleading. While there is a lot of love here, none of it is romantic. It’s a love for existence, a love for the impossible, a love for the brokenness inside of us all, and how maybe other people can’t heal us, but they can support us, and through them, we can support ourselves.
Fans of the Impossible Life amazed me when I started it for one simple reason: it’s written in three different narration styles: first, second, and third. I absolutely adored Sebby’s second person narration, and how intimate yet distant it felt at the same time. While an entire novel in 2nd person would have been tiring, it is used sparingly enough to make it really shine. And shine Sebby does: he is by far the most interesting character, although all of them are unique and wonderful in their own special ways. I want to sing about Sebby’s narration though: the perspective really highlights how starved he is for human contact, and how desperate he is for someone to understand him, to share his pain. It’s really quite glorious.
Everyone in this novel is such a beautiful mess, trying desperately to move forward from the disasters of their life that they’ve created. I loved how this wasn’t an everything gets better story: the problems and issues were more circular, the effects of their choices profound and vibrating through the rest of their lives.
I found the novel to be rather dark, like a cloud of sadness was hovering over the text, turning everything a stormy blue. Despite the viewpoints, I felt distant and removed from everything, which I actually quite enjoyed. The prose was simple, and maybe this is why I felt such a distance, but I believe that it really worked for the story, whether it was intentional or not.
I liked this book, I really did. Some of it felt kind of random or misplaced, and maybe it’s a bit too melodramatic, but I can’t help but feel that this was the sort of book I really needed to read when I was 15. Fans of the Impossible Life has a lot of potential, even if it doesn’t quite make it. The ending is beautiful and perfect, but a nice ending can’t always make a book. I’d keep my eye on Scelsa though– I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
3.5 thrift store dresses out of 5.