My first Corinne Michaels book got me riding an emotional roller coaster. To say that I felt bad for heroine Presley Benson would be an understatement. She, at different points in her life, had it all and lost it all. There were moments during my journey through “Say You’ll Stay” that I thought, “Jackpot! This book is rockin’ a 5-star rating.” Then, there were the moments where I had to shut off my e-book reader, because the urge to throw it into a fictional woman’s face was quite strong. There were also the moments where I cried with Presley and thought “she just couldn’t catch a break.” And, lastly, the moments where I analyzed myself a bit better and asked, “Would I recommend this book to others?”
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to that question, I find. While it’s currently trending in the top 20 bestsellers list on Amazon US, and has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating on the same website (as of this post’s writing), I have to say: Presley Benson is not my ideal heroine. Her flaws are so blatant and so against the grain of who I am that I can’t help but judge her character negatively (seeing as how she’s a fictional character out of a book I bought and read).
“Angie would tell me to ‘get over it’ but I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to get over someone who was half of me.”
Excerpt From: Michaels, Corinne. “Say You’ll Stay.” iBooks, 2016.
- By Presley’s own admission, she cannot be alone. She’s never known how to stand on her own two feet. She jumped from one relationship into another, and then jumped back into the first flawed relationship everyone, including herself, was clamoring for. The relationship hops were frustrating and I wanted to give her a big thwack on the head for all her mistakes. It’s very Taylor-Swift of her. Bad of me to say, but admit that you thought it, too. Who are we to judge how another woman should live her life? No one. Who are we to judge a fictional character’s life? The reader who made the choice to part with her hard-earned money, that’s who. One of my most hated lines from the book is quoted above. Ugh.
- She keeps so many secrets stashed away, to the point that she continuously hurts the people around her, especially when those secrets come out in a way she didn’t intend for them to be. I empathize with her children the most. They were spoiled city boys who were thrown off the deep end in their mother’s childhood rural hometown – where they were cared for mostly by Presley’s support group: her aging parents, her brother, and her childhood best friend. In the book, Presley spent 90% of her time thinking about, spending time with, agonizing over, and talking about Zachary Hennington. All because she and he are destined. Fated. Meant to be. Even their entire town are hypnotized by their all-consuming love story. Why? I don’t get it. I really don’t.
- One of the antagonists, Felicia, was a bitch. A bitch to the highest degree. Her character is what we locals like to call “gasgas na gasgas,” meaning “repeated over and over again.” It’s a tried and true formula for the hero to be shacked up with the bitch from hell, before he sees the light and chases after the heroine. Personally, I get so tired and irritated when girls fight against each other or hate each other. Don’t we deserve new antagonists already? #LeanInTogether
Upon reaching the end of the book, I found myself in a weird situation. I wanted to change “Say You’ll Stay’s” ending.
I know, right? Weird and scandalous of me, yes. Nonetheless, it’s true. I want Presley to find her HEA. I want Zachary to find his HEA. I just thought Presley’s HEA coulda shoulda woulda been better if she found herself, loved herself and her boys, keeping her truths, finding her happiness in herself, getting professional help for her to let go of her pain and anger, and maybe, just maybe, she and Zachary would find their way back, with lighter baggages. Baggages they could cope with on their own, before they relied on each other again to help carry the load. I just found that Presley fell too hard, too fast again. Six months is a short time. She just left her heart out constantly on her sleeve. For that, I pitied her.
She may have gotten her happy-ever-after, but I wish that there’s a book somewhere out there that show how powerful and how worthy of love and acceptance independent women can be. Women who don’t fall insta-back in love with the one who got away.
Anyway….. for “Say You’ll Stay,” because of the never-ending feels throughout the entire book and for the self-analysis that’s gone far deeper than it should’ve for a book review! LOL.