Thursday, July 24, 2014

LOVE, LEARNING TO FORGET & SHORTNESS OF LIFE IN "MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE"



It all began when a  recently divorced woman named Theresa found a moving letter -signed "Garret" and addressed to "Catherine"- literally in a bottle and went all her way to find the writer- after finding similar letters found by other people. She found Garret Blake and it turned out he was a widower still grieving his beloved wife Catherine who  passed away after an illness. However, despite Theresa's motive of finding him to satisfy her curiosity and Garret yet to let go of Catherine's memory- the two are immediately drawn to each other and spend a few days in each other's company. I was like wow... what a good thing. Garret will help her forget her bitterness and Garret immediately attracted to Theresa will pull him gradually out of his lingering grief.

Next thing, Theresa brings her son to visit and now it's the three of them in a close interaction, even better. But then came the unfortunate scene... Garret rummaged her drawer for paper in order to express his feelings for his new love on paper while she's out. But he found his letters instead and all hell broke loose as they argued about it when she got back; Garret storming out after accusing him of publishing his letter and hunting him down to fulfill some stupid fantasy. Such cruel words... and earlier he was trying to convince her and Kevin to live with him in his town in North Carolina- which she couldn't do easily because of her career which was really taking off.

This is where Theresa upset me further. You would think after finding love after a betrayal she would be more compassionate and give the man some time to cool off and do some soul searching- after all the man was clearly in love with her; finding love in the middle of his grief over Catherine. But what did she do? She ruled out the possibility of them being together because she was convinced he would never let go of Catherine... who wanted to always live in the shadow of a dead woman? Come on Theresa, how often does love come by after a terrible disappointment? Sure the guy is yet to fully bury the past but wanting her and her child to live with him, isn't that a start? No... she decided to end their relationship- before she got hurt and leaves, refusing to listen to Garret who tried to prevent her from leaving. Unfair and rather hasty on her part, it's not only her heart at stake here!

In the middle of his misery Garret 'sees' Catherine- whether in a dream or her ghost I'm not sure- who informs him she had guided his message to Theresa for her to find, to motivate her to search for him... she knew he would fall in love with Theresa once he saw her, which is exactly what happened! It all made sense to Garret at long last and he realised it was now time to move forward fully- leaving the past behind for good.

Tragic twist...

It was Theresa's turn to grieve as she received devastating news... Garret had gone sailing during a storm (ironically he'd gone to drop one more message to Catherine, probably to officially say goodbye to her) and drowned.

As if Theresa's heartbreak couldn't get worse, she got a message from Garrett a week after his funeral- her own 'message in a bottle' informing her of his decision to put the past behind him and commit himself to her and her son and his intention of leaving one final message to Catherine... the cruel irony he died after saying goodbye to her!

By the time I was done with this very moving  book, my hanky was soaked right through and my eyes aching and wet with my tears. It was later adapted to a movie starring Robin Wright Penn and Kevin Costner; but luckily for me, I got to read the novel first.

The whole time I kept thinking... why, just why? I'm not passing blame on Theresa or Garret but I felt the tragedy could have been avoided... Theresa was quick to write off the possibility of them having a future together- because of the shadow of a dead woman. Sometimes there is just one great love for a person but Garret found room in his heart for her, he was able to love her in the middle of mourning and she him in the middle of being once bitten; twice shy, Love is patient and compassionate, Time was kind and a great healer but she broke off things much too early.

Garret should've realised life was for the living... he couldn't expect a proper future with his new love if he was reluctant to let got of his late first love. I was happy he was able to love after Catherine; I just wish he was able to let go of the past before meeting Theresa at all. But it was not to be after all and Theresa is left with the memory of him and their brief time together before cruel fate took him away from her.

This novel clearly showed one is capable of falling in love after heartbreak but it also depicted the importance of learning to forget and how unpredictable life could be. It's the unpredictability of life that motivates one to take the plunge of changing one's life and outlook. If one kept the past and refused to LET GO of it, it leads to consequences one does not expect at all.

Message In A Bottle is  a heartrending story and major lessons derived from it.

Quote from book: 

“If you like her, if she makes you happy, and if you feel like you know her...then don't let her go.” 

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