This time around, we have a special guest reviewer: Erica’s mother, Alice.
She (the daughter) said:
It seems fitting to have my mom review Colleen Hoover’s Regretting You with me since this book revolves around a mother and daughter relationship. Morgan, the mother, is in her mid-30s while Clara, the daughter, is 16 going on 17. Together they navigate through some major life-changing events while still trying to discover themselves. As with all of Colleen’s books, there is drama and angst, and internal as well as external conflict. There’s romance, yes, but this book is so much more than that. It’s about relationships and how seemingly small decisions can have big impacts.
I love so much about this book. The purposeful dual perspectives. The well-developed supporting characters. The ugly-cry moments. The chapter length. The unexpected humor. The minor and major humps (don’t be dirty, Matt! I know you’re reading this!). But my favorite thing is the overall authenticity of these characters. Morgan and Clara felt very real to me. They both have their own individual struggles while also struggling with each other. At first, I thought I would identify more with Morgan. While I’m not a mother, I am in my late 30s, so I got her. She made sense to me. Against all odds, she was trying to make the best decisions for her family even if that meant sacrificing her own wants.
Going into this, I never thought I’d empathize with Clara. A teenager? Please. Hormones and boy issues and rebellion? Nope. But Colleen wove her magic into this story because while I became enamored with Morgan’s chapters, I also looked forward to Clara’s. It honestly made me nostalgic. When I was a teenager, a bad day meant not getting a part in the latest school play, or being “dissed” by a cheerleader I used to be best friends with. At the time, these were huge issues for me. I thought the world was ending when a crush wrote “K.I.T.” in my yearbook without leaving his number. I mean, really, LIFE-ALTERING DRAMA. I definitely couldn’t get outside myself to see that my mom was struggling to pay bills or trying to save up so I could get that over-priced sweater from Wet Seal. Clara, too, can’t always see past her own drama. And this affects her relationship with her mom who, on top of worrying about her daughter, is also worrying about her own future.
If I could go back in time, I would tell Teenage Erica to keep her angst in check and be a little nicer to her mom. I would tell her she’ll always have things to worry about, including boys and responsibilities. And I’d tell her to find Colleen and convince her to start writing this book, like, yesterday. If this book had been around when I was a teenager, maybe I would’ve seen the forest for the trees.
I end this first part to say, parents, let this book be a tool for you. Read it with your tweens and teenagers. Read it with your twenty+-year-olds. And then do as I did and send Colleen $20 as a co-pay for free therapy. She deserves it. Also, go get a massage or something. You are underpaid and overworked.
She (the mother) said:
WOW…and again WOW!
The first wow is for the idea of having me review Colleen’s latest book with my daughter, Erica. At first I hesitated since my forte is not with the written word but with numbers. But then I became excited because of two reasons: Colleen (I have read several of her books and loved them) and Erica (I have spent over 30 years with this amazing human being and would do anything for her—well, almost anything!).
The second wow is for this therapeutic story. Colleen is known for her page-turning novels and true-to-life characters, but this one especially blew me away. It is so relatable. Yes, it is a work of fiction, but there were parts that made me feel like she was sitting in my living room retelling parts of my story and I was a critical part of this thought-provoking process. The spectrum of emotions took me by surprise. I laughed. I cried (now, Erica, don’t laugh at that since you know I cry at the drop of a pin!). I yelled and got angry at certain characters. I experienced the emptiness that happens after a life-changing altercation as well as the memory and excitement of young love.
This novel showed two different perspectives of how a mother and daughter handle their relationship both before and after a shocking discovery. It showed that being a parent and trying to deal with the day-to-day pressures that life dishes out can be overwhelming. It showed that being a teenager and trying to deal with peer pressures and new emotional experiences can be challenging. (Thank you, Colleen, for helping me to remember this!) It showed that being in a mother/daughter relationship is difficult at times (Erica, do you remember you coming home from school and me coming home from work and each of us rushing to our respective bedrooms in our apartment because we didn’t want to “deal” with each other?). But it’s also so rewarding and memorable (remember driving in Maui and “twisting and shouting” to the Beatles song?).
Yes, this book was good therapy. It reminded me of some valuable life lessons:
- Life is a roller-coaster ride with no instruction manual so we just need to do the best that we can and hope that it will be what’s best for all parties concerned.
- It’s okay and normal to have regrets of things but not of people from your present/past since they make/made us who we are today.
- We cannot change the past—it’s best to learn from it, let go, and move on.
Anyone who reads this (and that means everyone—grandparent, parent, and child) will not regret the gentle comfort that will envelop you as you turn that last page.
She (the daughter) said:
Colleen, you’ve now made both my mom and me cry. I’m taking back my $20! I kid, I kid. It’s all yours.
What my mom said is as true for me as it is for her—I felt like Colleen was in our living room and we were just part of her writing process. But, then again, that’s what Colleen does best: regardless of the book, she makes you feel like you belong, like you matter, like you’re as important as her words.
There’s a relief that comes after accomplishing something meaningful. Cleaning the entire house. Paying off a credit card. And reading a really good book. Thanks for this feeling you give me time and time again, Colleen. And thanks, Mom, for stepping out of your comfort zone and writing this review with me. You’re off the hook for doing favors for me in the future. Actually, I take that back. How ‘bout a hug? That’ll do.
To purchase a copy of or read the synopsis for Colleen Hoover’s Regretting You, click here.