After the moment
by Garrett Freymann-Weyr
The story of two 15 year olds in love really begins when they are 21 and have a chance meeting at a dinner party. It is then told in flashbacks, although it will suddenly move into the present while it takes the reader some time to catch up.
Leigh has lived with his mother in a tiny apartment. He has always been a good student, a good son, a great girlfriend, and loves his step-sister, a child from his father’s second marriage. When her father dies, Leigh goes to help her because the family is aware that their father is emotionally withdrawn. There he meets Maia, an anorexic who also is a self-mutilator. And falls in love. As his mother’s boyfriend says, “That’s a beautiful girl screaming trouble. I doubt that there’s a man alive who can resist that at seventeen?”
Leigh, more than anyone we have met, wants to help. For a time, it works well and Maia recovers, but ultimately it does not turn out well. Leigh needs to break up with his girlfriend, and while he is away, Maia goes out with a former boyfriend, gets drunk, is raped, and videotaped. When Leigh eventually finds out who taped the rape, beats the guy senseless and beyond. This complicated plot is hampered by the fact that Maia’s reaction to Leigh’s being gone one weekend is totally out of character. We ultimately do not feel much for Maia. Sure, we feel bad about her problems, but ultimately she is not a strong character. Leigh is the character we care about, who can’t seem to see beyond himself, not matter how he tries to help the people around him, but as the story slogs along at times, I question just who the audience is. This seems to be a more adult-oriented story.
Throughout the story too, runs a theme about Iraq where Leigh questions the concept of violence. This sets the story, but does not add to the story.
Recommended for high school to adult readers