1 - Summary
Kyle has his life all planned out, next year he will go to UCLA with his girlfriend, Kimberly, and become a professional football player. And Sam, his best friend, goes with them. But when Kyle and Kimberly fight again the day before graduation, Kyle is suddenly unsure of anything.
Kyle tries to make amends for the umpteenth time, but then Kim (Kimberly) tells him something that really pisses him off. Sam and Kim have applied to another school and are not going to UCLA at all. Kyle wants to get away from the graduation as soon as possible, but Kim runs after him. He gets into his car and wants to drive away, but Kim can get in just in time with him. Kyle races away and drives recklessly to a lake, but something terrible happens along the way, the car the teenagers are driving is hit by a truck. Everything turns black before Kyle's eyes.
Moments later, Kyle wakes up in a hospital bed. Immediately, panic sets in.
Where's Kim? But Kim did not survive.
A long rehabilitation follows. Kyle has a fracture to his femur and severe brain damage and this will all take a long time to heal, but Kyle is also mentally broken. He locks himself in his room for months and finds it hard to put the past behind him. Kyle suffers from hallucinations and often sees Kimberly in his room.
One day, Kyle decides to go for a walk, he would like to visit Kim's grave sometime. He hadn't finished talking to her that night.
Kyle places flowers by the grave and is deep in thought when suddenly he hears a girl talking behind him. Kyle turns to see a shy girl about his age standing by a large tree. He walks over and starts a conversation, her name is Marley, and she is a storyteller. She writes fairy tales. Kyle thinks she's special, she has something in her eyes that he understands, there's something about her that Kyle feels too. An agreement. Marley has to go home, but the two decide to have lunch together later.
Weeks pass, and Marley and Kyle grow closer. It feels good for Kyle to have someone to talk to about his loss. After some time, Marley also dares to tell about her loss. Marley and her twin sister Laura were waiting for the bus when Laura's necklace fell from her hand and rolled onto the street, Laura ran after it. A car pulled up, and Marley saw the car, but Laura didn't. Marley will always blame herself and think she shouldn't live a happy life if Laura can't either.
Kyle is intensely happy with Marley and feels for her like he's never felt before, not even Kimberly. The two celebrate Halloween together, go to Christmas markets and adopt a dog named Georgia. Kyle can no longer play football with his femur, but thanks to Marley, he's found there's more to it than that. He is now doing an internship with a sports reporter. Marley has found the courage to tell her self-written stories in a lecture. Life couldn't be more beautiful right now.
One night Kyle is awakened by a thunderstorm, he looks next to him but does not see Marley lying there, although she should be there. Kyle goes outside looking for her, but then there's another flash of lightning and his eyes go black again.
Moments later, Kyle wakes up in a hospital bed. Immediately, panic sets in.
Where's Marley? But nobody knows where Marley is, and who Marley is.
Kyle hears footsteps in the hallway, someone walks into his room, it's Kimberly. Kyle turns out to have dreamed everything about Marley, because he has been in a coma since the traffic accident with Kimberly. And yet Kyle can't put up with it, he will find Marley anyway, he's sure she exists, and he's afraid of losing his dream life. Sam and Kimberly think he's crazy.
When Kyle wakes up in the middle of the night and looks out the window, he sees a girl who looks a lot like Marley. It's Marley. Together with Kimberly, he makes a plan to get in touch with the girl, and it works.
The emotionally broken girl has a name, Marley.
Storyteller Marley has read her own fairy tale to the comatose Kyle. And all of this Kyle has experienced as living his own ideal dream, which secretly wasn't a dream after all.
2 - Characteristics of the main character
The main character in the book is Kyle Lafferty. The book is written from his perspective and the story is about his life, and his dream life.
Kyle is a very adventurous, ambitious boy. In the book he also shows his insecurities, he has been very emotional and not so confident since Kimberley's death.
Kyle's appearance isn't talked about much in the book.
An important feature of Kyle is the fact that just before the accident with Kimberly, he sustained an injury to his shoulder on the football field, this shoulder is often mentioned in the book. Since that injury, it is no longer certain whether he can become a professional football player. Kyle suddenly doesn't care about his future anymore, he no longer has a purpose.
Another feature is Kyle's hallucinations. He keeps seeing Kim because of his serious brain injury. It drives him crazy, but also makes him very insecure.
Also in the following piece of text:
‘I guess, if I think about it, I didn’t have much of a plan for myself. More of a plan for us.
Even if I could picture it, there’s no way I can move forward now, haunted by the ghost of my girlfriend.
Ex-girlfriend, I correct myself. And somehow that makes it worse. Like I don’t have claim to the grief inside me. Just the blame. Even thinking of Kim haunting me makes me feel like a dick. She didn’t want to be with me in life, so why would she spend her time following me now? I toss the photo of us down on my bed, realizing there’s only one other possible answer for what happened tonight.
One that actually makes sense.
Maybe I’m just going crazy.
Maybe that’s what I deserve.’
- p. 55 & 56
3 - Important figures and minor figures
Kyle Lafferty= This is the main character of the book. He is a boy who is in an emotional time. He is tough and ambitious.
Kim (Kimberly) = She is Kyle's ex-girlfriend and later in the book she is Sam's girlfriend. She is a very sweet and spontaneous person.
Marley Phelps = She is Kyle's dream woman. In Kyle's dream, Marley is really Kyle's girlfriend, but in real life the two don't even know each other. After Kyle wakes up, the two get to know each other again and become a couple again. Marley is a very sweet and dreamy girl, full of fantasies.
Sam = This is Kyle's best friend and Kimberly's boyfriend later in the book. Sam is a very good and helpful friend, helping Kyle through the rough times.
Mrs. Lafferty = She is Kyle's mother. She is a sweet, enthusiastic and caring woman.
Catherine Phelps = She is Marley's mother. She is a nurse at the hospital where Kyle is admitted. She is very strict but fair.
Dr. Benefield = This is Kyle's doctor. He only appears a few times in the book, but does have an important role in Kyle's life. He is a nice doctor who also likes to joke.
4 - The main thought
The main idea in the book is the message that life is a fragile and precious thing.
In the book, three main characters are seriously injured or even die, although this turns out not to be the case. The book is quite complex, and you can interpret it in many ways. As a reader it is quite difficult to understand what is real and what Kyle is dreaming, this also makes it a challenge for the reader to think about the mental side of life.
It seems very intense for Kyle to have built a whole new life and then lose it all at once. You will also think about this yourself, sometimes a dream you have just seems real, and then you are disappointed or relieved that you wake up. But what if you are not awake after a few nights?
Other themes and messages in the book are sadness and friendship. Kyle and Marley are both grieving and losing. In the book, it becomes clear how intense and heavy this is, especially for a teenager. Kyle and Marley tell their stories to each other and deal with grief.
5 - Theme, title and main character
The title is 'All this time', the main characters are Kyle, Kimberly and Marley and the theme is both sadness and friendship. All of this is clearly related.
The friendship between Kyle and Kimberly is especially vulnerable in the beginning of the book, but later they make amends. The theme of 'loss' also plays a role between them. In Kyle's 'dream world', Kimberly has died and Kyle is deeply sad about it.
The friendship between Kyle and Marley is very strong and turns into a relationship. But when it turns out that the relationship is a dream, Kyle is also very sad about this.
It takes some thinking to understand the title. I think the bottom line is that of course Kyle was in a coma ‘all this time’ when that's more than half the book. So that's what Kyle's been dreaming about all along. So the title has more to do with the main characters than with the theme.
The theme of 'sadness' is very clear in the next piece of text, but confusion is also present. This is when Kyle wakes up from his weeks-long coma and realizes that everything he's been through isn't real.
‘The entire room spins. I grab on to the rail on my bed, my breath seizing. I shut my eyes and wait for it to subside, to come back into reality like always. I must have really hit my head, because the flash is bad. More real than any of the others.
But when I open my eyes, the air rushes right out of me again. Because it isn’t Marley who walks through the door.
It’s Kimberly. And this time she doesn’t fade. But I do.’
- p. 204
The next piece of text arouses the same feelings as the piece above. The moment Kyle wakes up in the hospital, and it turns out that Kimberly is no longer alive.
‘And that’s when the panic rushes back. The bloody, matted hair. The gurney. Kimberly.
‘‘What happened - Kim - is she… ?’’
She doesn’t say anything, just focuses on something in her hands. A clipboard. A pen clicking. A note on her chart.
- p. 26
6 - Impressive scene
The next piece of text really resonated with me. I found it very emotional and intense.
Marley has just had an accident and is also in a coma. Kyle is broken but finds a solution. Entering into Marley's mind. She's with Laura, she needs to see her one more time:
‘A light rises behind me. I feel its warmth through my shirt as it washes over Marley’s face. She stares into the light, a sob escaping her lips. Dread creeps up the back of my neck as I turn to see what Marley sees.
There, standing right in front of that vast field of Stargazer lilies, is Laura.
She’s backlit by some otherworldly light, standing in a glowing circle, like the sun during an eclipse. She raises her hand as if reaching for something. With a sinking feeling, I know exactly what she’s reaching for.
Marley pulls herself from my arms.
‘’No. Marley, no. Don’t do this,’’ I beg, the breath leaving my lungs in a plea. ‘Please, Marley. Stay.’’
Marley looks back at me, tears flowing for her eyes, as if she can hear my heartbreaking. But then she looks to Laura, who wraps an arm around her waist.
Marley, my Marley, gives me one last smile … the follows Laura into the lilies.
- p. 315, 316 & 317
I think there is something magical about this piece of text. I'm not a big fan of fantasy books, but I found this part interesting. It really adds value to the story.
I think that anyone who has ever lost someone would also like to see that person one more time, to say something or just to see. Of course that is not possible, but in your thoughts and dreams everything is possible. So this too..
*Really happened: I cried at this part…*
7 - My opinion about the book
I found this book very good and impressive.
The beginning was a little hard to get through because it was very monotonous and not all that positive. After that, the story became a romanticized love story between two teenagers, it almost seems a bit cliché. But then suddenly something happened that I really didn't see coming, I was in shock. From then on I had to read on and I had to know what was going to happen. And if you think that's it, then you're wrong, because then something happened that no one saw coming.
I really like these kinds of books. It's romantic, it's a bit cliché, a lot happens, there are a lot of emotions in it and in the end it all works out.
I have never seen a movie or book that has so much to do with coma, but after this book I found out that it is really very intense. Of course, you sometimes read stories that people who are in a coma can sometimes hear you, and then I think 'thankfully'. But in this book it also becomes clear that it can be very intense for the patient himself. I find such plotting, in the hospital, very interesting and educational.
The writing style is perfect! It's not too difficult and not too easy. Many things are described in several sentences, so if you do not understand a sentence, you can get the meaning from the next sentence. But sometimes I did look up a word because I didn't know the meaning.
The length of the chapters was also very nice. It wasn't too long, so I could put the book down when I was done with it. Some chapters were only a few paragraphs, which makes it very exciting.
The authors have written another book, Five Feet Apart. After having read the book ‘All This Time’, I also think it would be very nice to read this book. This book has also been made into a movie.
I give 'All This Time' an 8.6 out of 10 as a final mark.