Synopses & Reviews
When Cameron was fifteen, Sonia was her best friend no one could come between them. Now Cameron is a twenty-nine-year-old research assistant with no meaningful ties to anyone except her aging boss, noted historian Oliver Doucet.
When an unexpected letter arrives from Sonia ten years after the incident that ended their friendship, Cameron doesn't reply, despite Oliver's urging. But then he passes away, and Cameron discovers that he has left her with one final task: to track down Sonia and hand-deliver a mysterious package to her. Now without a job, a home, and a purpose, Cameron decides to honor his request, setting off on the road to find this stranger who was once her inseparable other half.
The Myth of You and Me, the story of Cameron and Sonia's friendship as intense as any love affair and its dramatic demise, captures the universal sense of loss and nostalgia that often lingers after the end of an important relationship. Searingly honest, beautiful, and full of fragile urgency, The Myth of You and Me is a celebration and portrait of a friendship that will appeal to anyone who still feels the absence of that first true friend.
"Stewart peers into the complicated heart of friendship in a moving second novel (after 2000's Body of a Girl). Ever since a cataclysmic falling out with her best friend, Sonia, after college, Cameron's closest companion has been Oliver, the 92-year-old historian she lives with and cares for in Oxford, Miss. Oliver's death leaves Cameron alone and adrift, until she discovers that he has given her one last task: she must track down her estranged best friend (whose letter announcing her engagement Cameron had so recently ignored) and deliver a mysterious present to her. Cameron's journey leads her back to the people, places and memories of their shared past, when they called themselves 'Cameronia' and swore to be friends forever. It was a relationship more powerful than romantic love yet romantic love (or sex, anyway) could still wreck it. Stewart lures the reader forward with two unanswered questions: What was the disaster that ended their friendship, and what will be revealed when Cameron and Sonia are together again and Oliver's package is finally opened? The book is heartfelt and its characters believable jigsaw puzzles of insecurities, talents and secrets, and if Cameron's carefully guarded anger makes her occasionally disagreeable, readers will nevertheless welcome her happy ending. Agent, Gail Hochman. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Stewart's writing is sharp and observant, making this tale of the complexities of friendship affecting and genuine." Booklist
"Deftly exposes the passionate and particular bonds of female friendship, from adolescence to adulthood. Poignant, fierce, and compelling, this is a story all women will recognize, and one all too rarely told." Claire Messud, author of The Hunters and The Last Life In
"Stewart captures, as few other writers do, the passions and pains and pleasures of friendship....[A] beautifully written and suspenseful novel." Margot Livesey, author of Banishing Verona
After a ten-year absence from each other's lives, childhood friends reconnect with their once inseparable other halves. The tale will appeal to anyone who has ever loved and lost a best friend.
About the Author
Stewart has been a creative writing teacher and associate editor at DoubleTake magazine. The daughter of an Air Force serviceman, she has lived in nine state and two countries and holds degrees from Vanderbilt University, and the University of Michigan. Her short stories appear in various publicaitons.
Reading Group Guide
This reader's guide for The Myth of You and Me
was written by the author, Leah Stewart.
1. How would you describe the relationship between Oliver and Cameron? Is it purely a familial one, or are there romantic undertones? What creates such a tight bond between them?
2. What do you think made Sonia write to Cameron? Can you imagine writing such a letter? What does Sonia mean when she says, “Sometimes without you to confirm these memories I feel like I’ve invented them”?
3. Oliver believes that “all times exist simultaneously,” a concept Cameron returns to several times over the course of the novel. What does Oliver mean by this? How is this notion at odds with Cameron’s statement, on page 215, that “once you know the end of the story, every part of the story contains that end, and is only a way of reaching it”? Which of these ideas strikes you as most true?
4. Why does Oliver force Cameron to seek out Sonia? What does he want for Cameron’s life?
5. On page 51, Cameron says, “To belong nowhere is a blessing and a curse, like any kind of freedom.” What do you make of this? How have her frequent moves shaped her? How have they affected her worldview? How might she be different if she’d lived her entire life in one place?
6. What connection does Cameron make between her personality and her height? How does she imagine her height causes others to see her?
7. What role does Sonia’s dyscalculia play in her life? How has it affected her idea of her herself? Her approach to the world? Why do you think she chooses to let Cameron in on this secret, and what’s the effect on Cameron when she tells her?
8. How are Cameron and Sonia shaped by their relationships with their parents?
9. Do you think that what Sonia did to end her friendship with Cameron is forgivable? Why or why not? Why do you think she did it? Why does Cameron find it so difficult to forgive? Is what Cameron did in response forgivable?
10. What draws Cameron to Will? Should Cameron be held responsible for her feelings for Will when he was Sonia’s boyfriend, even though she didn’t act on them? When she meets him again as an adult, why are her feelings so hard for her to express?
11. Sonia tells Cameron on page 205: “You’re a dreamer who doesn’t believe in the dream.” What does she mean by this? How do you see this play out in Cameron’s behavior?
12. Which of the two friends do you sympathize with more, Cameron or Sonia? At which points in the novel do you most sympathize with Sonia? With Cameron? At which points do you sympathize with them the least? Why?
13. In the prologue, Sonia tells Cameron that every decision we make affects the rest of our lives. Do you think this is true? What are the crucial decisions in Cameron’s life? Sonia’s? Oliver’s? Why did they make them?
14. Why are friendships between teenage girls so intense? What brings Cameron and Sonia together? What does each bring to the friendship? What does each get out of it?
15. On page 114, Cameron says that these intense teenage friendships can’t last. Is this true? Why or why not?
16. What kind of relationship do you imagine Sonia and Cameron having after the end of the novel? Have they begun a new phase of their friendship, or simply achieved closure?