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Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

"Dear Nicky, I hope that when you grow up everything you want comes your way, but especially love. When it`s true, when it`s right, love can give you the kind of joy that you can’t get from any other experience.” Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas is an amazing love story, for me it was a page turner that I read in less than 24 hours! It is an incredible fictional love story set in New York and Martha’s Vineyard. Katie Wilkinson cannot believe her luck, she has met and fallen head over heels in love with her lover of 11 months who seems to be a seemingly perfect man, Matt. But no sooner has he entered her life than he disappears without word, and when he sends her an apologetic letter, saying he is to blame and that he hopes she can understand better by reading Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas a diary that she starts to understand that he seems to have a whole separate life. We feel a tremendous amount of joy and heartache sharing in Katie’s experience reading Suzanne’s diary for her son Nicholas. Throughout the novel, one is anxiously reading on to find out the mystery of why Matt would leave, and what happened to turn upside-down a once picture-perfect life. There are so many interesting twists in the plot which capture one’s interest. In addition, the book imparts some important life lessons along the way. Messages that come from it are the importance of a balanced life, the importance of finding the right person to be with, and the importance of family and love. The first entry started with simple introductions of Suzanne to his son, Nicholas. As a woman whose parents died of early age, she wanted to write a diary to her son to be reminded of her when he grew up. Suzanne wanted to be remembered as a mother. In this simple way of opening up to a kid full of innocence, this is her way for her kid to remember love. May it be not only with words and actions, but also a keepsake. But it is not only a communication between Suzanne and Nicholas; it is also a heart-to-heart talk with Katie. That she feels the same. Moving along the diary entries we learned that Suzanne has a successful career, broken up with a career-driven man, changed her whole life and made new beginnings, and eventually fell in love - with a painter and a writer. When we complicate things, we become problematic, and at one point, we may experience a heart attack. Suzanne emphasized the story of five balls - where career is a bouncing ball, while the rest are glasses, breakable and vulnerable. Here is the story of the 5 balls: Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls- family, health, friends, and integrity- are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life. I won't go into details and twists of Suzanne's love story because this is part of the treat Patterson wanted you to read, especially if you are simply romantic. Just read them along. And let me point it out: it is not only the love story element that made the novel gripping, but also her simple language conveying lessons to Nicholas and eliciting memories with Matt. There are quotable quotes in this book: Love between two people can last a long time if the people love themselves some and are ready to give love to another person. We are not here needing love; we are needing to be belonged. Before we love our lovers we should be whole and love ourselves first. We should feel the purity and intensity of it. After all, when it is true, when it is right, love can give you the kind of joy that you can't get from any other experience... Because to be without love is to be without grace, what matters most in life. And as we see Suzanne's challenge in her workplace and in her own life, we see that Life doesn't go on forever. We are here to savor every moment of it, breathing it all in, feeling lucky and grateful. In one of her sharing of an experience with her patient (and I will not disclose even there is a spoiler alert), we realize that we are fragile, and we are to remember how life can be like walking on a high wire. Falling seems a tiny misstep away. The heaviest part of the story is where we all thought this is only a heart-to-heart talk between Katie, Suzanne, and the non-talking Nicholas. Life can be unforgiving sometimes. When I saw a leaf containing Matthew, my heart skipped a beat. WHY DID MATT MADE A DIARY ENTRY? It is for me as a reader to find out. I WAS CRYING IN MY ROOM! To my mother yes a laughing matter, but I cannot control it. I felt betrayed. Where was he? Why did he write that? What to do now? I asked with Katie. Katie made her move, grabbing the lessons of the five balls as her weapon, deserving her own happily ever after. I don't wish to have a life like Suzanne's or Katie's, I wished to live it full or wishes and dreams coming into life. This emotional rollercoaster story made us realize that we a simply lucky to live each moment every day, keeping these little things as our keepsakes, weaving our own bracelets, or writing our own diary entries. I don’t think any other book I have ever read has made me cry like Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas did. I was skeptical about reading a book from one of my favorite thriller writers that was described as “A love story as suspenseful as any thriller”, but I needn’t have worried. James Patterson has shot up in my expectation after reading this, how can a man that writes some pretty darn bloodthirsty thrillers turn his hand to a love story, and not just turn his hand to it but completely pull it off. I was stunned at the beautifully subtle yet heart wrenchingly sweet way the story is written.

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