The Regrets (2020) by Amy Bonnaffons – Book Review

Every once in a while I go in search of a book that is a bit quirky, that can hold its own in a lineup of weird art, that truly speaks to the mind and soul. I go looking for books that have been overlooked by the consumers of mass-market hysteria simply because not enough people were talking, tweeting, Instagramming about them. And I’ve discovered some pretty cool gems.

I vaguely remember how I stumbled on to this book, but it turned out to be a rewarding read. It is a love story. The love is between two wildly different people – the difference being that one is alive and the other is not.

Book cover for The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons

Reality and dream collide in Amy Bonnaffons’s dazzling, darkly playful debut novel about a love affair between the living and the dead.

Set in the hallucinatory borderland between life and death, The Regrets is a gloriously strange and breathtakingly sexy exploration of love, the cataclysmic power of fantasies, and the painful, exhilarating work of waking up to reality, told with uncommon grace and humor by a visionary artist at the height of her imaginative power.

Here’s what made me really like this book:

  1. It tackles subjects like death and mortality in a way that is fresh and non-mopey. There’s none of the “Why me?” in it, there’s no lingering sadness over the face that something as inevitable as death happened. It focuses more on the “What now?”
  2. This book contains a lot of sex but not in a creepy way, and there’s isn’t any smut. The sex is pretty much part of the plot without being the center of attention. It’s there because it has to be – non-creepily.
  3. It isn’t overly dark or overly happy – just the perfect shade of grey.

One concept in this book that I really related to was the desire to find someone with “complementary weirdnesses” and then wanting to hold on to said person. Everyone is their own flavor of weird and finding someone who subscribes to your particular world-view is one of the few gifts that life (or death?) can give you.

Don’t let the weirdness of the book fool you. It is fresh and highly recommended.

Saba T. Siddiqui

A nerd who loves reading, writing, and disagreeing with people simply because I can.

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