Title: I Have Lost My Way
Author: Gayle Forman
Reviewed by Madiha Akhtar
Have you ever felt lost, at a crossroads with no idea what to do and where to go? Sometimes, and all you need is a clue from someone to find your path.
I Have Lost My Way revolves around three young, lost adults; Freya, a half Ethiopian, half-Jewish singer made famous through social media, Nathaniel, a handsome but incredibly shy tourist with nothing but a backpack and 100 bucks on him, and Harun, a Muslim Pakistani American college student and a fan of Freya’s. The three strangers find themselves in the same spot, connected to one accident in a park in New York City. They are from different backgrounds, different families and have different lives; the only thing that links them together is the quest for their identity.
Freya, an up-and-coming singer, is hurt because she has lost her voice. She doesn’t know what to do because singing is the only thing she is good at. Harun has lost the love of his life whereas Nathaniel has lost the most important person to him, his father. The instant connection is that all three are going through a period of grief in their lives.
The novel is about friendships, taking chances and transforming your loss into your gain. The story takes place over the course of one day and is broken up with flashbacks that reveal how the three teenagers have lost something important to them. All three meet by coincidence, but come to understand each other really well. And in the hours they spend together, they become each other’s strength; they help each other find their respective destination.
The diversity in the characters is interesting. The three young adults belong to different backgrounds but their friendship transcends ethnicity. Freya has a complex relationship with her older sister, Sabrina. Harun, a Pakistani boy, is figuring out how to reconcile his sexuality with his family’s religion. Nathaniel is blind in one eye and struggling with depression after his father’s death.
The novel is slow in the beginning, but it gains pace after few pages. Gayle Forman has a great style of writing, and tackles human emotions beautifully. Her narration is crisp, which makes the book a delightful read. Forman’s writing is lyrical and riveting and keeps one hooked to the novel till the last page.
The writer is a freelance writer, an avid reader and a blogger.
“They maybe complete strangers, with different lives and different problems, but there in that examination room they are measuring sadness the same way. They are measuring it in loss.”
– an excerpt from the book