Where Hope Lies by Hope Alcocer is a very sweet book about the struggles of growing up during those crazy years between 20 and 30 where you discover yourself, a career and love for the very first time. You can tell the heart of the story is personal to the author, and that the lessons learned are being told to us to help prevent the reader from future heartache of the same nature.
My name is Chloe Repaco. I’m your typical 20-something college graduate, who is in love and just trying to get her shit together. I’m trying to make my mark in the world, figure out what I want to do in life, and get off my budget-friendly diet of Ramen and rice cakes.
Next to my bed sits a calendar with 127 days that have Xs on them and there are about another 90 days to go. Those Xs are me counting the days until my soldier, Vinse, returns from Iraq. And there he sits at the other end of the world with those same Xs, counting down until our worlds can reunite. He yearns to be a part of my world again. As far as he’s concerned, it’s a world and a life where everything is okay. Little does he know that my world, our world, and our future is about to be turned upside down the moment he returns home.
This is my story. A story of love, a story of heartache and pain, and a story that molded me into the woman I am today. It serves as a lesson—sometimes what you think you want is not what your heart wants or needs at all.
This is a journey to find myself, my place in the world, and the arms of where my heart, my dreams, and my hopes should lie.
I was drawn to Where Hope Lies because of the military love story, but it wasn’t really about that at all. In all honesty I was actually disappointed with this book. I read to me like a diary from a woman who wasn’t sure what she wanted and was trying to figure it out. It was sweet, but it was like a rambling of “he loves me”, “he loves me not”.
It was a little disbelieving sometimes. A few times in this book the guy walks up to the girl and professes this all consuming love for her. This is totally unrealistic. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m sure it does to a very selected few, but how many times have you heard the story of a man in his early twenties walk straight up to a girl and say, “I love you. I love everything about you. You’re the love of my life.” After not long having met?
I find it hard to believe that anyone would walk up and profess that to anyone after barely knowing them without worry about what would happen next.
And two engagements within less than a year of each other? Again, unrealistic. It seemed to me very tacky-romantic-drama and my favourite parts was when she was speaking about her radio show. Everything else just sounded like a diary entry of the boy she loved and the boy she loves before (in very Cheryl Strayed-esque style) deciding to love herself and discover who she is.
It sounds like I’m totally slating this book – I’m honestly not. It was really nice, and it was an easy read (apart from the numerous typos) so if you’re looking for a story you can enjoy after a hard day, or are looking for something you can cosy up and read in bed, I’d say this book was for you.
One thing I really did enjoy about Where Hope Lies, was it’s message: don’t rush into things, and when you’re in a relationship, don’t let the big things make you lose touch of what made the two of you so special together.
This is a lesson I think is really important for people to learn – especially young people who are so busy looking into the future together and looking at getting married, being engaged and looking for a first home together.
Near the end of the novel, Alcocer writes:
“What happens when you stop doing everything you did at the beginning of a relationship?
Well, it’s quite simple – you lose what made the two of you – you.
When you’re focused on what season peonies are in and what shade of white or ivory you want your dress or what type of appetisers you want… you lose sight of how important it is to preserve what made you two so great.”
– Where Hope Lies, Hope Alcocer
It’s not really advice you hear very often, but we need to remember to fully enjoy the present with someone and remember that we have with someone is special, otherwise we can let the small daily issues get between you and before you know it there’s a chasm between you both.
We need to preserve what’s special, and, as a couple, you should never stop doing the things that made you fall in love with each other to begin with.