Romance is often credited with having the power to completely change a person. It is able to manipulate emotions and decisions, and is sometimes likened to the same carefree spirit that is associated with youth and blissful ignorance. It is reasonable to say that the most emotive form of love emerges during one's youth. The Beauty of the Moment, by Tanaz Bhathena, truly captures budding romance, weaving together heartache and whimsical scenarios for a heart-wrenching story of love, sacrifice and the struggles of a messy family life.
Bhathena builds and intensifies Malcolm and Susan’s relationship through alternating perspectives. Susan, a timid perfectionist who struggles to balance her family’s wishes for her future with her own desires meets Malcolm, the notorious troublemaker who conveys the impression of wanting to challenge every rule he can. As Susan and Malcolm work up the confidence to keep company with each other, they uncover a side of themselves that they have been trying to suppress: Susan’s desire to pursue art, despite her parents’ wishes strengthens, and Malcolm finds the drive to work towards a future for the first time since his mother’s death. As the relationship deepens the two must confront more family conflict and punishing decisions.
The internal conflict that occurs within the main characters teaches an important lesson about learning to navigate a complex world of decisions and tensions that arise from opposing views. Bhathena emphasizes the importance of staying true to your values and wishes, while also presenting a touch of reality. Susan and Malcolm face many challenges, both together and apart, and occasionally, they even stray from each other. In the end, they see the value in becoming their best selves, realizing that their relationship is the catalyst for their newfound potential.
The Beauty of the Moment is an accurate representation of the challenges that many students the same age as Malcolm and Susan may face. The book embodies the struggle of trying to please everyone around you and avoid mistakes, whilst simultaneously allowing yourself to truly live. Any reader who enjoys novels that paint a realistic picture of love, incorporating imperfect characters and their internal struggles will find that this novel fully immerses them in the story of Susan and Malcolm and has them yearning for more. Love, although liberating, can also clash with other aspects of life, and The Beauty of the Moment explores all of the consequences of love, both positive and negative.