Everything that happens to Luisa Cloutier shapes her – her upbringing in Giugliano, Italy, its cultural influences, meeting the man of her dreams (a U.S. marine) in the early 1990’s, relocating to a new country, and starting a business, to name a few. Perhaps the biggest changes, which act as bookends to her story, result from coping with heartache – first as a sheltered young woman in her early 20’s and later as a more seasoned grown-up in her mid-40’s. As a writer, Luisa (or her excellent editor) has a sharp ear for dialogue. Her narrative voice is well-honed and instantly recognizable, making the story flow in UNTIL FOREVER seem unforced and natural.
Brandon and Luisa are charismatic and passionate, and Luisa does a good job divulging some of their sexual escapades with taste and discretion. But whether it’s due to Luisa’s own shyness or protectiveness, Brandon isn’t as three-dimensional as he should be. He’s a prince charming, but a little hard to relate to, and his actions, interactions and motives become more enigmatic as the story progresses. It would have been helpful for Luisa to reflect on the whys of her husband’s behavior: why did her fall in love with her, why later on did he keep important things from her?
Most of the story is well-paced, although Luisa tends to gloss over the stresses in her marriage. She tells about Brandon’s emotions at these thorny stages when she should use her accomplished writing skills to show them. Her memoir also leaves out, for the most part, most cultural references and descriptions of herself and those around her, which would provide readers with stronger imagery and a more established sense of the time period and setting when certain things happen. As one would forgive a friend for leaving out parts of a story, understanding the need for privacy, it’s easy to forgive Luisa for her omissions, and easy to give this book a big thumbs up.
UNTIL FOREVER, Luisa Cloutier’s tribute to her husband Brandon, is a beautifully written and engaging “coming of age” journey, and the author’s distinct personality and perspective are evident throughout, creating a warm and moving memoir.
~MG Milbrodt for IndieReader