Elevate Difference

Pictures of You

Reading Pictures of You is like having encounters with people you randomly meet on the street, at the beach, on in a park. Novelist Caroline Leavitt’s compelling characters have lived through unpredictable tragedies—some of them more than one—and knowing their stories compells the reader to consider why these people are who they are, and how they have managed to survive their respective hardships.

Pictures of You begins with a dark and unimaginable situation, which sets the scene for the remainder of the read. An accident brings the main characters together, and then proceeds to tear them apart. As they struggle to recover and re-adapt to their lives, each person’s experiences feel palpable and close to home. As their stories, their stories become intertwined, brilliantly intermeshed in survival. The characters are faced with uneasy decisions about love, death, fear of loss, and the pursuit of happiness. They find answers to difficult questions: when do you follow your heart and do you ever cease to question the certainty of your decisions?

In building the characters’ backstories, Leavitt proves she is able to sustain the pace and move through the difficult experiences. She uses peripheral characters to help define the basic structure of the story and set it up for its end. The realness the author brings to the characters moves them forward to face their pain with hope for the future. She deftly nails every character using direct language to provide inner dialogue. While reading, I felt pangs of pain through their grievous times and rejoiced in their accomplishments.

At times reading as a mystery, Pictures of You gives us encouragement to enjoy the lives we live—or make the necessary changes now.

Written by: Carolyn Espe, April 1st 2011
Tags: mystery