Your Place and Mine by Nicci Gerrard and Sean French (AKA Nicci French)
“Your Place and Mine” is an intriguing romance that provides a unique view of a budding relationship from the perspectives of the two involved. From the get go we are introduced to Laurence and Terry. Laurence is portrayed as a relatively normal guy who works a day job and has recently started seeing a new girl; Terry. She on the other hand, starts the story off as a fairly normal girl, kind of clingy yet still sane. However, over the course of 5 days Laurence has cheated-on and dumped Terry. Terry’s retaliation the day following the break-up Terry is a plot twist to say the least.
Some of the major themes explored in the story are all themes related to romance, such as love, lust and heartbreak. It also dips its toe into exploring gender stereotypes by portraying Terry as a clingy leech and upon heartbreak, a murderer. Whereas Laurence is portrayed as a remorseless cheater, whom only sees women as objects and has no real interest in long term commitment. These portrayals are nothing groundbreaking but they serve to provide a Hollywood-esque sequence of events.
The narrative structure of the story is a little difficult to comprehend, as it never establishes what forum the speakers are utilizing. My original thought was that they were writing passages into a diary or a blog, that was until Laurence said: “All right, all right, I can see the eager look in your eyes” which serves to break the ‘fourth wall’ in an attempt to speak to the reader directly (French, 2). The medium works well enough to portray the story, but leaves many questions unanswered, such as; why are the speakers acknowledging that there is a reader when they have no clear audience?
What I hope is intentional of the format is that the language and presentation of text feels very cold and almost emotionless as the story progresses. This compliments the theme of heartbreak quite well, as it is noticeable by the end of the story that the text excerpts are getting shorter and shorter, lacking the emotion they once had. This nicely mirrors the relationship as Laurence and Terry find themselves growing apart.
Overall, “Your Place and Mine” leaves much open to interpretation, as a lot of context is left out of its entries, and the forum to which the speakers are speaking into remains unknown. Nevertheless it forces you to use your own imagination to fill in the plot holes and it gives you an opportunity to watch a relationship unfold from two sides as opposed to most stories that only give you access to one.
I have no problem recommending this story to any active readers who enjoy a good romantic piece, just don’t expect to find anything too new plot-wise.
French, Nicci. “Your Place and Mine.” We Tell Stories. Penguin, 2008. Web. 15 Feb. 2017. <http://www.wetellstories.co.uk/stories/week4/archive/day2>.
Finot, Christophe. Canal de Bourgogne. Apr. 2005. Wikimedia Commons. Wikipedia. Web. 15 Feb. 2017. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Canal_de_Bourgogne_08.jpg