“Time doesn’t heal wounds; it merely conceals them under a layer of dust. It only takes a sudden, unexpected gust of wind to expose them again as raw as they have always been, as raw as they will always be.”
Author: Julie Valima Published: 2017 Pages: 362
The premise of this novel is potentially one of my favourite book concepts ever. We are introduced to Eero when he is just a boy at school, living with his mother in Finland. His father is absent, a fact which does not go unmentioned by Eero. As he grows up Eero begins to notice he is very in tune with the emotions of those around him. When he sees someone upset, he himself feels their hurt, when they are angry, he can relate to their pain. Eero eventually finds out he has empathy. Given a compass and his gift of empathy, Eero must seek out the lost souls of Finland and give them the Light when they are in their most desperate hour. Whether that is to a person contemplating suicide or someone so buried in their hurt they are no longer present in the world. We follow Eero on his journey where he must discover how to help others, and in turn, how to keep himself sane. But when, one day, he fails to save a woman, he must confront the painful reality that maybe not everyone can be saved.
Let Me Find You was a thrilling, provocative and emotional journey; I found myself eager to turn the page and the themes Valima touches on including death, loss, guilt and, of course, empathy, really made this book personal and relatable. I do think that sometimes the book became a little lost in heavy narrative and dialogue, but I suppose the themes were so profound, that it would have been hard to be light-hearted.
As a protagonist, Eero was quite fascinating. Having seen him right from his childhood, it was interesting to see how he coped with his gift and how he chose to use it. I was, for the most part, very fond of him and thought that as a character he was selfless, kind, and compassionate. The only part that confused me was his hate for his father Pekka. Pekka left Eero and his mother, so Eero never knew him, and this hurt kept cropping up throughout the book. The reason I was jarred by it however, was because Pekka had a very good reason for leaving, but despite this, Eero could not forgive him. As I continued to read the novel, I came to realise that this was Eero’s hamartia; he was too blinded by hate for his father that he could not find room in him for forgiveness, despite all the evidence that was presented to him.
Apart from the one at the top of this review, another quote from the novel which stuck with me was: “Strength will reveal itself to be an unreliable ally sooner or later, whereas courage, once you have learnt to draw it from your heart, it will never fail or desert you.” Novels often have thought-provoking and profound quotes, and Let Me Find You is no different. This quote really summed up Eero’s journey for me; he uses his empathy to help others, but it is his courage to do so, that really saves them.
Overall Let Me Find You conveyed beautiful themes of hope, forgiveness, and the fragility of the human soul; Julie Valima writes spectacularly and successfully acknowledges that sometimes when we are at our most vulnerable and consumed by darkness, we just need a little hope to guide us back into the light.
Thank you to the author Julie Valima for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.