Seventeen-year-old Christian Marx never belonged anywhere but with his best friend Maye. Life with her beats the hell out of the dingy apartment he shares with his neglectful mother. Mom may be blood, but Maye and her little sister Rowe are family. Life would be perfect if only Maye loved him the way he loved her.
Last night, she did. Today, she's dead—a tragic accident no one could have predicted.
With Maye gone, it's up to those she left behind to figure out how to move on. Only one person can drag Christian away from the ledge. Only one person can save Maye's little sister from making a huge mistake.
Sometimes the only way to un-break yourself is to fix someone else.
14+ for sexuality and adult situations
“Yeah, 387 Greer Highway.” My voice was flat over the sound of sobbing, begging, in the background. “Overdose…barely…bourbon and something prescription, I’m not sure.”
The dispatcher pledged to stay on the line until the ambulance arrived, but I abandoned her first, setting the receiver on the kitchen counter and grabbing the car keys before walking out the front door, unnoticed. What was one more unforgivable act? Besides, I'd done my part. The rest would have to be on the two of them. I stood in the driveway looking back at for a few moments at this place that used to feel like home, and continued on my way to anywhere but here.
I don’t remember the three point turn, or creeping under the canopy of trees that shaded the long gravel drive from the house to the road. Time was lost and instinct took over steering, the gas pedal, and the brake, though I had no need for it. There was no traffic this time of night, when morning hung only a couple of hours over the horizon. I just drove, the lazy speed of the car moving through the dark echoing the numbness I’d succumbed to after struggling against it for so long. It felt almost nice.
I watched, lost in thought, as the darkened houses and pastures passed. I'd considered the existence of fate many times in my life, but only for the past few weeks with any real seriousness. The mistakes made tonight were no accident, no coincidence. Had any of it ever been?
Without realizing, I pulled the car off to the shoulder and into the grass, at that place on Greer Highway that had haunted me for what seemed like a lifetime. It felt like another life, when we’d been happy. I stared out the windshield, willing myself to see something real, something to anchor me in reality, but there was nothing.
I needed to feel it, this road I'd been avoiding in the weeks since. To touch it, know if there was anything left there. It felt like the natural place to make peace with all that had happened, apologize. There had been a purpose to all of it. Maybe she could forgive me. But would I ever forgive myself?
Posted by Margaret Lesh on 17th Jul 2014
Love, loyalty, loss, abandonment, growing up through pain--these themes are explored in Ashley Heckman’s novella The Last Three Words. The story is written in the alternating point of view of childhood friends Maye and Christian, and Maye’s little sister Rowe. The three tell their bittersweet story.
Maye is thoughtful, kind, and responsible. She takes care of Christian, the poor boy whose mother could never be bothered with him. Christian tells of his love for Maye, about struggling through a copy of The Little Prince just to have something to talk to her about. His love for her makes him want to be a better person. Little sister Rowe, the rebel, has built up walls, toughened by the loss of her mother, and her father’s inablity to cope with life. Their narratives interweave to tell their story which feels realistic--the dialogue especially felt real to me--with descriptive touches that drew me into this short novel which I read in one sitting. I felt the author did a good job of developing each of the characters so that as the reader, I felt I knew them.
I’d recommend The Last Three Words, especially for fans of young adult fiction.
Posted by Unknown on 12th Jan 2014
Do you think if you could see what is coming in life there would be a way to challenge fate? One night, he was on top of the world, and the next, his world came crashing down. Christian wonders what is left in life when the one person who was home is gone and there is no place left to rest a weary head. Rowe is lost in a life where she is left alone after the one person who was present is forever absent. Maye knows if she moved on her existence would be better and she knows someone is waiting for her. Unfortunately, the two people she loved most in the world are sent reeling because of her. Broken since the death of her mother, and an absentee Mom and considered Maye home, Rowe looked to Maye for comfort, and Maye loved them all. Is it possible to save those who she leaves behind, or will they join her sooner than they should? Wow, The Last Three Words made me an emotional wreck. The pain contained within the pages is difficult to read but all too common when death comes to visit. We often forget to say the things which need to be said, to move forward in honor of those we love, and to appreciate the memories. I will say the story was well written with each point of view aptly addressed, but it is an emotional roller coaster. From the highs of first love to the valleys of teen angst and the lows of death, I was shocked by the ending as I never expected the outcome. - See more at: http://coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/thelastthreewordsbyashleyheckman.html#.UtK6w-jnZdh
Posted by Katharine Edgar on 13th Dec 2013
This was a moving and sensitively written novella exploring the effects of grief on the boyfriend and sister of a teenage girl who dies in an accident.
Heckman is an observant and thoughtful writer who manages to get into the heads of her three characters and makes us feel for them intensely. Her mastery of detail really brings the story and the characters to life. This a character- and emotion-driven story, rather than an adventure, but it moves at a good pace and finally comes together into an ending that is almost heartbreakingly hopeful.
I look forward to reading a full-length novel by this author one day.