Written by Adam Silvera
Contemporary, LGBT, Diverse
Published February 2017
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia
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You’re still alive in alternate universes, Theo, but I live in the real world where this morning you’re having an open casket funeral. I know you’re out there, listening. And you should know I’m really pissed because you swore you would never die and yet here we are. It hurts even more because this isn’t the first promise you’ve broken.Griffin and Theo shared their lives with one another. Childhood friends, they've been one another's confidant, neither realising they were both falling in love. No matter in which direction their lives would follow, Griffin and Theo would navigate back towards one another. Until Theo died, leaving behind broken promises and heartache.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder afflicted seventeen year old, Griffin, has just lost his first love, his best friend, ex boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner, in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin's own version of the truth, both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means...
Griffin was a wonderful young man, gentle, intelligent and consumed by Theo. While Theo is animated, sensual and navigating his relationship parameters with Griffin. The nonlinear narrative begins with Griffin attending the funeral, being confronted with Jackson, Theo's college boyfriend and the history his dear Theo left behind.
If I'm going to have any chance of getting through today, tomorrow, and all of the days that follow, I think I need to go back to the start, where we were two boys bonding over jigsaw puzzles and falling in love.
Theo is incredibly intelligent but ultimately flawed despite the insistence of Griffin. Shortly after Theo and Griffin begin their relationship, Theo is offered early acceptance into a Californian college and with reluctance, leaving Griffin and their relationship behind. At college, Theo has lived an existence that is only shared through phone calls that have become less frequent as Theo and Jackson explore a new relationship. Throughout the nonlinear storyline, Griffin sees Theo's new relationship as insignificant, with little wonder as Theo seemed to manipulate Griffin's emotions, sharing the turbulence of his new relationship knowing Griffin was hopeful the two would reunite.
Griffin never received closure, so when Theo passed due to the tragic drowning accident, he reluctantly agrees to spent time with a grieving Jackson to understand aspects of Theo's life he no longer shared. Theo and Griffin's mutual friend Wade mourned alone and attempted to reach out to Griffin, consumed by grief to notice. Wade lived within Theo's shadow but after their separation, became a necessary voice of reason in Griffin's life.
Griffin lives with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, anxious over uneven numbers and favouring one side over the other. Theo, Jackson and Wade all interacted with Griffin on a varied scale. While Theo seemingly helped ease Griffin's anxiety, he believed these were simply quirks that added to Griffin's appeal. Jackson was incredibly intuitive both through his observations and relationship with Theo, his kind and gentle nature put Griffin at ease. While Wade had adopted the same approach as Jackson, but continued to challenge Griffin.
While the main focus is on the same sex relationships of Griffin and Theo, Theo and Jackson, the tentative friendship between Griffin and Jackson was therapeutic for both characters. His friendship with Wade and the wonderful relationship between Griffin's parents was a lovely touch. Diverse without using character diversity as the main narrative. Same sex relationships, bisexuality, anxiety disorders, a parent who is in a wheelchair and incredibly sex positive. It was beautiful.
Adam Silvera is exceptional. History Is All You Left Me is a heartbreaking narrative about the relationships that ignite passion and influence our lives. Tender, exquisite and breathtaking.