From goodreads: It’s 1978 in a country town and a dreamy fifteen year old girl’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring and she wants him like nothing else she’s wanted in her short life.
Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until erotic love notes begin to arrive in his letterbox.
Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. Each must make a choice, the consequences of which will haunt them until they meet again twenty years later.
The Yearning is a gut-wrenching and provocative story that’s written exceptionally well. Many times throughout the story it felt lyrical and those poetic words moved me. So if it’s written so well and I was moved how can I possibly rate it only 3.5 stars? I’m so glad you asked…
If I had to rate the book on the writing, the stunning cover and intimate moments alone, it would get 5 glorious stars. Back to the intimate moments for just a second, oh my word, they were done tastefully and while they were graphic (borderline erotic), it was beautiful.
There was something amiss about the relationship between Solomon and his student, their relationship was purely physical. Where was the emotional connection? And because the relationship lacked that depth it felt one-dimensional which was (for lack of a better expression), a bummer. I knew early on that nothing meaningful would bloom in terms of emotion because their short-lived affair was just about the sex. The protagonist feels so much that it overwhelms her emotionally and mentally but it’s completely one-sided because there’s barely any dialogue between them.
Normally when I read a book there are several compelling characters that I like, love or hate. However, in this particular story the men were absolutely, simply put, douchebags and that includes Solomon. There were slivers of hope when Solomon would reveal bits and pieces of himself that could redeem him but those were fleeting moments and again, I was left feeling unsatisfied. And the mom, delivered a ghastly message to her daughter, if a man sticks around it’s because he cares, despite his plentiful shortcomings. Someone shoot me now…
What’s brilliantly done by the author is how she withholds the name of the protagonist until the very end, the use of the metaphor was top-notch and I honestly didn’t realize she was nameless and I was 30% in when it hit me. I loved how she was on the quest to find an earth shattering love that would move her to tears and it’s that very elusive dream that she clings to ever so desperately that makes this story incredibly sad. She goes on this emotional journey of sorts, evolving as a woman and realizes that the dream she had about Solomon was just that, a dream.
“When the universe was young, it took a breath, then sighed with a longing so deep, so ancient, that it stole God’s attention for a moment. The sigh brushed God’s cheek and He recognized it as the breath of love. In that moment God wished for another. The yearning had begun.”
I realize I’ve picked this book apart but I definitely enjoyed this teacher/student story; for the writing alone it should be read and I promise you, it’s not boring nor is it poorly executed. This could very well be your next favorite book.