More Than We Can Tell - Brigid Kemmerer
My first ever post on this platform… my profile isn’t even properly set up… yet boy am I glad this is a review of ‘More Than We Can Tell’. Slightly concerned I wrote this with the mentality of, ‘English essay. Not an english essay.’ But I think it turned out alright…? – chocnmint
“We all push sometimes, just to make sure someone is on the other side, pushing back.”
Trigger warning: Abuse, sexual assault, violence
My heart broke, time and time again, and yet this heart-wrenching, tumultuous journey of a book wove a seemingly spellbinding net that captivated me at every twist and turn.
Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.
Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.
When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected.
*While this book exists in the same universe as Letters to the Lost, it is a standalone title.*
(Borrowed from Goodreads)
Appreciation is a word that can only hope to capture how I feel towards the masterfully told story that Kemmerer weaves on each and every page. The often probingly difficult ideas and emotions, not only of trauma, assault and abuse but also of religion, gender inequality and bullying, are unflinchingly explored through the characters, written in such a way that allows readers to connect and empathise. The character growth throughout this book is phenomenal, with every one of the characters thoroughly explored. It’s difficult attempting to convey afterthoughts, without spoiling the emotional rollercoaster that begins from page 1, especially for the characters whose troubled pasts and harrowing stories shake you from the inside out… a testament to the author.
Rev is a character who you truly wish to present with a big, warm hug, despite his often perceived as tough, almost battle-hardened nature. His kind personality, in spite of his physically and psychologically traumatic childhood… and often ‘scared of what he could do to others’ mentality… and the courage he ends up demonstrating to face his fears with the support of those around him… If he were to be rated, he’d deserve all the stars I could possibly give.
Emma’s experience is almost just as dark, her perspective bringing insight into the gender biases and trauma that comes with being a female in a predominantly male led industry, as well as the impacts of her parents’ relationship. Yet, sometimes her character becomes difficult to empathise with, due to her insufferable need to push those who care most about her away. Understandable, but sometimes incredibly infuriating.
The connection these two characters find within their own individual struggles, as well as the extremely cute romance that comes with it, is an addition that is impossible to refuse. (Even fuelling the fictional romance needs of a hopeless romantic in denial)
Alongside the main protagonists of the story, are a multitude of equally inspirational characters. Despite taking on supporting roles, Rev’s adoptive mother and father, are unconditionally loving, with an insightful backstory that adds depth to their characters. Emma’s best friend, although painfully 2D, is made up for by Rev’s new adoptive brother’s intriguing, yet absolutely heart-breaking story, whose character I would absolutely love to have been explored in more detail. (Here’s to hoping another book will come out.) Declan, Rev’s best friend, also makes a return, with a personality just as endearing as ever.
More Than We Can Tell, is a book filled with darkness, yet is a heart-wrenchingly gripping tale of kindness and support, a must-read that enraptures even the most dry eyed of audiences.