I’d seen a lot of love floating around for Jasmine Warga’s My Heart and other Black Holes months before I read it myself. I don’t know if it was because I read it shortly after reading the breathtaking All The Bright Places (which deals with similar topic but is just in a realm of its own) or if it was because I read it in one go my flight to Vietnam while I was half asleep, but for whatever reason I didn’t have as much love for this book as I’d expected. I liked it well enough to read it in a few hours and care enough about what was going to happen to the characters, but there was just a little something missing for me. My memory of reading it over two months ago is a little blurry because a lot of life-altering things have happened to me since, so I apologise if this review seems a little bit messy or underdeveloped. I’m afraid I’ll be a little out of practice.
I remember one thought that I had when I first started reading the novel and as it continued is that I wasn’t entirely convinced of Aysel’s depression and thus her desire to commit suicide. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Aysel’s character and the background with her father, but I kind of felt her depression was used as means for her to meet Roman and become his suicide partner. I did quite like Warga’s exploration of the concept of suicide partners. It created some really interesting developments/tensions between the two main characters. Even if I didn’t quite understand Aysel’s need to die, I could understand why she would want to do it with someone else. I can’t spoil what happens to either characters by the end of the novel, but it just seems to me that Aysel’s journey was more about her saving Roman than her saving herself.
At first I wasn’t sure if I liked Roman. For me there was something weird about the first time they met, especially when Roman’s “friends” joined them at the booth they were sitting in. I know Warga meant for Roman to seem fake because he was being fake, but I just had difficulty getting into his character until he started acting like himself. But as the novel progressed, I grew to really care about Roman and what was going to happen to him. I was more convinced by his depression and desire to die than I was with Aysel’s. The horrible incident that happened to him chilled me and it was one of the things that made this book memorable for me.
I enjoyed the connection between Roman and Aysel and seeing how that developed throughout the novel. I think Warga dealt with their growing friendship/feelings about each other and themselves in a real and gentle way that definitely convinced me.
Though I had a couple misgivings about some parts character/plot wise (again this may have been different had I read this novel while I was in a state of awake), I have no misgivings about Warga’s writing style. She has a lovely way with words, and I was often struck by how she put sentences together. One line I remember liking even now, and well it’s a line that’s really important to me now: “one spark can change everything.”