Let Her Be, the sixth and final short story in the Hush collection from Amazon Original Stories, is one of the best in the collection. Written by Lisa Unger, it is the second short story in one of these collections that I have read by this talented author – the first one being The Sleep Tight Motel, which was the first story in the Dark Corners collection.
First of all, I need to say that while this is the second short story by Lisa Unger, I have not actually read any of her full-length novels as of yet.
“In fact, the sad truth is that I didn’t understand a thing about life until mine was spilling, black-red, onto the white tile of my bathroom floor. Maybe no one does. Maybe we can’t grasp the gift – the crazy, mixed bag of tricks – until it is being wrested from us.”
Will is the storyteller in Lisa Unger’s Let Her Be. He begins by talking about his suicide attempt after he realizes that he cannot live without his ex-girlfriend, Anisa. Anisa was the one he wanted to spend his life with, but she left him – and while he can’t remember exactly what happened to cause her to leave him, he knows that he wants her back – despite the restraining order that she has against him. And he will do anything to either get her back, or he is determined to end his life if he can’t.
“You don’t stop loving someone just because they stopped loving you. It would be a lot easier if you could.”
Only, that gets interrupted by someone he believes in Anisa, since he texted her his goodbyes the night of his suicide attempt.
Now, a few months later, Will is still struggling to get on with his life, and to get over Anisa. He is having difficulty with it, of course, but he is also trying to stay positive – even though all he thinks about is her.
When he meets up with Anisa’s friend, Emily, he begins to talk about Anisa, even though it is making her slightly uncomfortable. Emily doesn’t want to talk about Anisa, and Will shouldn’t be talking about her.
“Sometimes silence is the only answer we get, and we have to accept that.”
Later on, when Emily comes to pick up her notebook that she forgot at the coffee shop they met up at, she and Will get to talking. Emily points out how Anisa has essentially dropped off the face of the planet with her new boyfriend, not even talking to Emily or her own mother. She and Will discuss what could be going on in Anisa’s life, and why the photos she has been posting on Instagram seem a bit off.
“We cling to the past, don’t we? To versions of ourselves, to people we tried to love, to dreams we have outgrown. But there’s only one moment. Now. And the only true self exists here.”
So together Emily and Will set off on an adventure to find Anisa, traveling to the place Emily thinks she may be, stopping at Will’s parents’ summer house by the lake – the one where Will’s sister drowned many years ago.
The two of them have junk food and wine, and try to figure out everything that has happened since that fateful night when Will tried to kill himself.
Except, maybe all is not exactly as it seems…
…And maybe Will is not quite as innocent of a party as he thought he was.
Lisa Unger does an amazing job building up the suspense in Let Her Be. It shows the side of an obsessed ex-boyfriend who has a history of violence and an obsession with the woman he once loved.
The most shocking part about Let Her Be is the fact that no matter how many theories you come up with while reading, no matter what explanations you may decide fit the story – you aren’t going to be prepared for the truth. It’s such a surprise.
I do admit that the ending left me with quite a few questions, and it was a tad bit confusing, but at the same time, it was kind of left open to interpretation, and I loved that. I could pretty much make the ending go any way I wanted it to, which was neat. I recommend you don’t read too much about this story if you like surprises, and instead just read it for yourself.
If you like Lisa Unger’s other work, or if you are a fan of thrillers and suspense novels, this is definitely a must-read for you!