Monday, February 27, 2023

Heartbreaking Quotes from "Hello Beautiful" by Ana Napolitano

book quotes from "Hello Beautiful" by Ana Napolitano

Reader beware. SPOILERS AHEAD - there are several twists and turns in "Hello, Beautiful" that I would hate to ruin for another reader!! So, if you haven't yet read this book, I would recommend saving this post and coming back later because reading these quotes and the discussion will give away many of those surprises. That being said, let's get into those heartbreakingly beautiful quotes!

Heartbreaking Quotes from "Hello Beautiful" by Ana Napolitano


 "With his palm pressed against his fathers', William had the strange thought that he might never see his parents again - that they'd only ever had one child, and it wasn't him."

The most heartbreaking character in Hello Beautiful, and the competition is tough, would be William. His childhood, the loss of his sister, and the total loss of parental love were such a gut punch. A sympathetic character for the reader, but also for the close-knit Padavano sisters who had always known companionship and family - and in many ways define themselves by it.

This moment in particular stuck out to me because William is off to pursue the rest of his future, playing basketball as a collegiate athlete. A moment that should be exciting and something his parents would be eager to join him in is coupled with what should seem like an unreasonable thought, but it is one that actually ends up being true.

 "...Sylvie ached at how this priest and all the people at the wake defined Charlie with his biographical facts, when he has been so much more. He was vast, and beautiful, and more present in the gift of baby formula to a young mother than any day he'd spent at the paper factory. He was his acts of kindness, and his love for his daughters, and the twenty minutes he'd spent with Sylvie behind the grocer's that evening."

I loved this moment in the book at Charlie's funeral. While loved by his daughters, up until this point in the novel, Charlie is depicted as a failure. However, Napolitano really drives home the idea with Charlie that someone posthumously might be remembered very differently, and why that might be. For years after Charlie's death, the Padavano sisters, particularly Sylvia, are greeted by neighbors who were positively impacted by Charlie, all of this without the girls knowing his good deeds at the time. I love this idea that someone's memory would be carried on by their good deeds and that so much can be happening with a parent or anyone really, that you do not know about that informs their character - bad or good.

 "William's departure had been sudden, but it had struck like lightning in the middle of a storm. Unexpected yet natural."

This is one of the ways in which Napolitano is such a brilliant writer. A big plot point occurs and while you're processing it as a reader, she swoops in with the *perfect* metaphor that adds so much depth to the moment and really made you think about it differently. I was surprised when William made the choice to leave their marriage, and also his decision to give up their daughter. Comparing it to lightening in a storm is just so perfect, surprising yes but even if was sudden for Julia, it might also have not been a surprise considering how far apart they had become.

 "Alice is a lamp. A bright lamp, from the moment she was born. She kind of shines. Looking at her hurt my eyes, and I was afraid to touch her." "You were afraid of her light?" "No. I was afraid I was going to put her light out. That my darkness would swamp her light."

I absolutely love this metaphor. Napolitano is at it again with heartbreaking metaphors! Even though I do not suffer from depression - as someone with children, I found this idea incredibly relatable. I think all good parents worry that in some way they might even just dim the light of their children through their parenting faults. I also love the word swamp - rarely used that way, but such a good visual!

Below are two more times Napolitano used metaphors that perfectly illustrated her point - 

 "But the friction between life inside that room and outside made him feel like a record needle being dragged across the vinyl surface."

 "Julia had shut that door between them so many times that Alice had locked it."

 "William had grown up in a nice home, with a professional father, a big lawn, and his own bedroom. He clearly knew what success and security looked like, and the fact that he saw those possibilities in Julia pleased her immensely."

 "She knew William's attention would be on her. She loved the hopeful look William directed at her, as if he were a ship eyeing the ideal harbor."

Even knowing how it all ends, I think the start of the relationship between William and Sylvia was so romantic. I really enjoyed reading those sections of "Hello Beautiful" because Napolitano does a perfect job balancing romance with storytelling. Frequently in romance novels, I feel like the plot is less important than the more graphic scenes, but this novel is a closed-door. I became invested in the relationship between William and Sylvia and how they made each other feel. William needs connection and family and finds it with Sylvia. And Sylvia is so ready to be grown up and she loves that William sees that in her. 

By setting up this seemingly ideal couple, Napolitano does a great job of showing how a fundamental flaw in their relationship caused an absolute breakdown even though initially it seemed like a perfect match.

Book Quote from "Hello Beautiful" by Ana Napolitano

 "Sylvie wondered, looking at the mural, if bravery was wedded to loss. You did the unthinkable thing and paid a price."

Definitely one of my favorite quotes from "Hello Beautiful" and also a repeated theme throughout the book -  by growing as a person you have to make really difficult choices, and typically those choices involved a great deal of loss. Nearly every character in the book, in order to grow and be the best version of themselves, has to make a decision that is tied to a great loss. And as a reader, it felt like the author was asking us, was this choice worth the loss? I think this book would make an excellent book club pick because there were so many big choices made by characters that would generate a lot of discussions!

Have you read Hello Beautiful by Ana Napolitano? Comment below and share with me your favorite quote or moment from the novel. If not, share another novel with a great romantic relationship, even if things don't work out in the end. Thanks for reading, readers!


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