When Catherine learns that she is dying, she decides to make a record of things that she could never say to her husband. A box containing a set of 29 envelopes – each envelope contains a photo and a cassette. She asks her husband – Sean, to open one envelope per week. In the cassette, she records everything – from their happy times to secrets that even Sean couldn’t believe his eyes. After a series of emotional roller coaster, the story finally ends with Sean believing that he and Catherine met not by chance, but because it was meant to be so – it was their destiny.
One day, we’ll be dead, and we still won’t have known each other. Not properly. Because no one ever does.
I have a mixed opinion about this one. When I read the blurb, which, by the way, is interesting, I was expecting this to be an emotional and heart-wrenching story of a dying wife. But, the story turned out to be more of a series of shocking revelations.
To spend your entire life with someone and still not know them is pretty strange.
The story starts with Sean and April returning from Catherine’s funeral service. Maggie is waiting at the door. She tries to console Sean but all he wants is a little time to himself. As the story proceeds, Maggie makes her appearances, initially, as a nosy neighbor who pokes her nose into everything. Later on, when Maggie’s friendship with the Patricks is revealed, I was a little bit convinced of her ‘interference’.
Maggie leaves Sean with a box. As he opens the box, he finds a set of envelopes. He opens the one that is marked “1”. He finds out about Catherine’s “Reveal It All”. Each envelope contains a photograph and a cassette. She asks him to open one every week. When Sean discusses this with Maggie, she says that Catherine is not around to check up on him so why not open it all at once. However, Sean decides to follow Catherine’s rules and opens one envelope every week. Maggie tries to convince Sean by saying that Catherine is no more and whatever she chooses to ‘reveal’ in the tapes doesn’t matter anymore. How I wish Sean had paid heed to her advice!
Sean is happy seeing the pictures of their wedding and their trips. But then, when he hears about Catherine assuming that he and Maggie were having an affair, how he wishes that Catherine had confronted him about this when she was alive so that he could tell her that he was a very faithful husband. And Catherine’s one-time affair breaks his heart. He skips opening an envelope the next week. He just cannot take it that his wife has cheated on him. These moments were heart-wrenching and how I wished that Catherine did not mention it. But then, in the beginning, she did say that there are few tapes which might give Sean a shock of his life. So, pretty expected I suppose? And the whole point of the tapes was to tell Sean a few things (about Catherine) that he didn’t know.
You meet people and sometimes they’re more important to you than you are to them.
Apart from these, the story was pretty good. I liked the concept of snapshot+ cassette. Things We Never Said is the story of Catherine’s life captured on camera and tapes. It is also an emotional journey for Sean – there are moments of happiness, and then, there are moments where I wish he could somehow go back in time and unhear the tapes.
What I did not understand is, why did Catherine have to tell Sean about certain things that would only make his life worse than what it is right now.
I really felt bad for Sean, although he’s just a fictional character, he now knows that his wife was unfaithful, even if it was just for once. He now has to live knowing that his mother was cruel to his wife. He has to live with the fact that his wife suspected him of cheating on her. And there’s nothing he can do now, for, his wife is dead.
Language/ Writing: 4/5
Character Development: 3/5 (Catherine and Maggie, although their story was pretty good, I somehow felt that Catherine was put in a bad light. There was something about Maggie that I just couldn’t like.)
Ending: 3/5 (April’s baby was an icing on the cake but the code-word talk between Maggie and Sean, in the end, was a slight bummer.)
Overall rating: 3/5
Title: Things We Never Said
Author: Nick Alexander
Published on: 4th September 2018
Featured Image Credits: NetGalley
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.