I have never been in the military, let alone in a war zone, and I won’t pretend I understand what Sabine is going through with PTSD following “the incident” from Ask, Tell. I have however been trying to convince myself for years that I do not suffer from my own PTSD (my wife will be very proud of me for acknowledging this) since a car bomb exploded outside my high school when I was eleven (or was I twelve?). Add burnout and anxiety with sometimes similar symptoms… So while the experience is different, I can relate to parts of it. I knew listening to this book would be hard but hey, I survived reading and listening to Lise Gold’s Living. Right.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has just been repealed, Sabine and Rebecca can live their relationship openly. They’re still very much in love and everything should be peachy, except Sabine is struggling with PTSD and trying to fight it on her own. Both because she’s having trouble seeing it as anything other than weakness and because she’s forever trying to protect Bec. Who, in turn, is so focused on taking care of Sabine that she’s oblivious to her own pain. She too is, to some extent, suffering from PTSD, while at the same time dealing with the toll mental illness also takes on loved ones.
E. J. Noyes is one of the most talented authors right now. While it is definitely a love story, Ask Me Again is certainly not a romance. It is not light and witty and heartwarming. It is intelligent and intense and heartbreaking. It is so good and true and terrifying and beautiful at the same time. It is also wonderfully written, as are all E. J. Noyes’ books, and so well narrated by Abby Craden that I am in total denial that Sabine and Rebecca are not real people. If you’re like me, this book will break you. Right now, I’m choosing to believe it is for the better. Ask me again in a couple of months.