Plot/Story : 5 chirps
Development : 3 chirps
Realism : 3 chirps
Overall : 3.75 chirps
And make that mistake she does. Auburn Lawrence introduces us to the story, but it quickly turns into a memoir written by Reed West himself. Shortly after making the decision to leave his wife, Reed is thrust into teaching a summer writing class. While taking stock of the students, Reed's mind changes about being forced into the class when he sees Auburn is once again his student. He instantly flashes back to her high school career, when the two of them had found common ground in their love for literature. As it turns out, Reed - Mr. West - has never viewed Auburn as just a student but more as an equal.
"It was important for a teacher to stay calm, cool-headed, and make the right decision, always."
"She was forbidden and taboo but our past pulled at us."
This is a sentiment that Reed repeats several times throughout the first couple chapters of the book. I almost thought that the story was going to be that of a chase, or a challenge. Obviously from reading spoilers we knew that the two of them would eventually end up together, at least for a portion of time. I had no idea that it would happen as quickly as it did. After a three year absence, and a minute of internal struggle on the level of inappropriateness, Reed kisses Auburn. From that point, Auburn is convinced that her feelings are and always have been returned (which appears to be true), and that the two are soul mates reunited by the fates.
"Imagine wanting something so badly, you're consumed with yearning, seeing something every single day, knowing you can never do more than look."
For a brief period of time, Reed does resist his baser urges. This action throws Auburn into a bit of a tantrum in which she refuses to attend class. When she finally does return to class, Reed is done - he is no longer willing to set aside what he wants. He proves the point by taking Auburn aside and bringing her to climax while the remainder of the class works on their assignments. All in all, the situation was more than a little hot.
"I burn for you, Auburn. You're my beautiful burn."
It's pretty apparent by this point where the story is going. Reed and Auburn are going to give in to each other, have amazing sex, encounter a struggle worthy of destroying their relationship, overcome the struggle, and live happily ever after. This is NOT the case, however. While there is foreshadowing of what's to come if you pay attention to certain comments and scenarios (for me, the final connection between the two was evident in the first paragraph when combined with three other sentences throughout the book), the author attempts to keep the situation less than predictable. While she manages to achieve the task, I felt like there was too much focus put on developing the angst of the story and not enough on developing the characters.
I would have liked to see more of the back story and personal story of the two. There was not much about Auburn's personality and personal life in general. We only saw how she was with Reed, and learned that her parents were divorced early and not friendly with each other. As far as Reed is concerned, we learned so little about him that the whole story felt like the recounting of a midlife crisis from early on. By the time we reached the last handful of chapters, circumstances come to light that would have garnered a lot more sympathy for me had I felt like I knew more about him as a person.
Overall, I would rate this book somewhere between a 2 & 3, unfortunately leaning towards a 2. In theory, the story was great, and unique. I just wish it had been a bit less complicated and more realistic.