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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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One step away
June 8, 2024

“Let It Be” drags on but is remarkably satisfying

Although it appears to be a simple plot with long-winded chapters, “Let It Be” is a novel that intricately lures its reader into a story brimming with emotional depth and bittersweet, hard-hitting reality.
“Let It Be” is the debut novel published in 2013 by Chad Gayle, who is a writer, photographer and a part of the Texas A&M graduating class of 1991. “Let It Be” is entwined with The Beatles’ 1970 album of the same name as it tells the story of a family finding bits of comfort during the hardships which lead to a divorce.
The novel begins with a startling opening line that refuses to let the reader sway away from its pages. The narrative shifts to tell the story of Michelle and her escape from her husband, Bill, with her two children, Pam and Joseph, in Amarillo in the summer of 1979. Michelle insists on leaving her old life behind despite the incessant calls from Bill and soon takes up a job. As she finds comfort of her own, a rift forms between her and her children. The chapters told by her son detail the feelings of forlorn and confusion a 10-year-old child would have during a divorce.
“Let It Be” exudes an elaborate writing style, describing the details of ice in a glass in one sentence and intimate emotion in the next. The eloquence is admirable but excessive, as Gayle takes the long-route in illustrating conventionally quick and simple scenes. It can be difficult to hold interest with the overabundance of vocabulary telling what could be a shorter story, but there comes a point in “Let It Be” where setting the book down means picking it back up minutes later.
The first extensive chapter is told by Joseph, whose later chapters become more interesting after we’re introduced to Michelle’s perspective. The oblivious innocence of a young boy seamlessly clashes with the weariness of a newly single mother. Despite the two vastly different perspectives, Gayle manages to profoundly deliver the distress the two endure. The author does this especially well with Michelle’s chapters, as she wistfully daydreams of the songs on her favorite record, “Let It Be.”
The novel is littered with classic songs and artists such as Carole King, Elton John and, of course, The Beatles. Each of the nine chapters is titled with songs of the latter’s final album beginning with “One After 909” and concluding with “The Long and Winding Road.”
In a literary sense, the album “Let It Be” emphasizes the events the characters go through. Michelle finds solace in the album throughout the story, and her escapist nature escalates. She tries to maintain her fantasy while Joseph does what he can to fix his broken family. They each struggle to do what the title suggests and let things be, and the consequences are sudden and more severe than expected.
Overall, “Let It Be” instantly makes the reader want to further explore what seems to be a simple yet touching story of a family drama, and satisfies when it turns out to be a compelling and profound tale that leaves a bittersweet sting.
Claudia Soto is a communication senior and Life & Arts reporter for The Battalion.

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