Told solely through letters from the main character, Lucas Goodgame, to his Jungian analyst Karl, We are the Light focuses on the aftereffects of a mass shooting in a movie theater in the small town of Majestic, Pennsylvania.
Lucas, who loses his wife, Darcy, in the massacre, develops a relationship with Eli, an 18-year-old whose life is also deeply affected by the shooting. Meanwhile, Jill, Darcy’s best friend, throws herself into taking care of Lucas.
The book provides an intimate look at grief and the various ways survivors cope – or avoid coping – with a traumatic event. This book is a difficult read because of the topics it covers, although the length and overarching message of hope help balance out the heavy subject matter.
This book has many factors that would typically qualify it as a five-star read for me. It is impeccably written, has a unique plot, and leaves a lasting impression. However, it falls a bit short in two areas.
First, I felt detached from the main character. Although I’m certain that’s what the author intended for the reader to feel for a good part of the book, feeling removed from Lucas affected my connection to the story.
The book was also a little heavy on Jungian theory for my taste. At times, the jargon bogged the story down and felt tangential to advancing the plot.
Even with these minor flaws, I’m glad I read this book. At a time when traumatic events seem to be unfolding more frequently, the story was a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and of the power people have to heal themselves and others.