And We Stay is Emily’s emotional journey as she comes to terms with her actions and her boyfriend’s suicide. The aftermath of the suicide is tumultuous, so Emily is sent to boarding school where she is forced to heal herself and examine her choices and her relationship.
And We Stay is heavily rooted within Emily’s emotional understanding of the world and they way she perceives it. The novel focuses on her confused feelings through the use of her own poetry as well as Emily Dickinson’s poetry. If you’re not a fan or poetry or Emily Dickinson I wouldn’t recommend this book. Each chapter begins and ends with one of the main characters own poems and Emily Dickinson’s poems are sprinkled throughout. I didn’t enjoy the poems while reading through, however at the end I reread the poems and saw them in a different light.
What I liked most about this book is how the reader isn’t told the entire story between Emily and her boyfriend at the beginning. Emily divulges the information bit by bit dragging out the tension and tiny mysteries within. These bit of information are revealed when Emily has to reflect on her feelings or is confronted with them. As mentioned previously, the poems are linked to moments from her past and can be read as story of her relationship with her boyfriend and what led to the suicide.
I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I could have because I wasn’t in a place to appreciate Emily’s emotional journey. I would recommend this book to people who are dealing with their own emotional experience.
Overall, And We Stay is a story about an emotional journey that shouldn’t be read lightly. It features poetry that exposes Emily’s character and all her vulnerabilities while also allowing the reader to reflect on their own emotions that are prompted.