I've had this book in my kindle for a year and despite the numerous recommendations and 4*/5* ratings, I was never eager to pick it up until recently when I decided to make it a buddy read.
The Opportunist is a book about life and its choices/mistakes and the emotions they bring along: love, joy, angst, frustration but mostly a profound regret about things that could have happened but didn't as a result of those choices.
Opportunist: Someone who takes immediate advantage, often unethically, of any circumstance of possible benefit.
And boy isn't this word the most accurate one to describe our dear characters.
"I am Olivia Kaspen, and if I love something I rip it from my life. Not intentionally...not unintentionally either.
Self-destructive, manipulative, shy, Olivia is a broken girl hiding behind the tough image she's created for herself. She's hostile to people and doesn't let anyone in easily. She did some pretty horrible and unforgivable things but I couldn't help but love her despite the lies that flowed so easily out of her mouth. What I liked about her was that she acknowledged the fact that she hurt people and she hated herself for it. The author wasn't trying to make us feel sorry for her, she was urging us to feel what Olivia was going through, that is, living in this self-created prison.
"I was a relationship retard. I kicked shoved, and punched people out of my life, so they never had a chance to hurt me."
"I will love again, Olivia, you will hurt forever. What you've done is...You are worthless because you make yourself that way. You will remember me every day for the rest of your life because I was the one and you threw me away."
Caleb Drake. I immediately fell for him during his first meeting with Olivia, because how can you not when the girl you like has a witty retort to each of your flirting attempts? However, as the story progresses, we learn that he's no angel compared to Olivia. They both are just the same. I don't blame him for trying to move on with Leah after the way things ended with Olivia. Nevertheless, he was a pretty good BF when he was dating her; he didn't give up pursuing Olivia and stood up to his mother when she made it clear that she profoundly disliked her.
The perfect actress, incredibly self-centered, and overly dramatic bimbo who's there to screw up Caleb and Olivia's relationship even more. I hated her during the whole read, and it was not until I finished it and started reading Dirty Red that I realised that she may be conceited, smug and egoistic but she's no better than Olivia and Caleb. The latter may be playing a never-ending lying game with each other but Leah just uses her acting skills and her bitchy ways to get what she wants. In my opinion, the three of them are big, fat opportunists in their own ways.
"I’m saying that you don’t love him as much as you love yourself."
He comes in towards the end of the book but I'm grateful that Olivia met him because he was like an eye-opener for her. His conversations with her were especially moving because Olivia was drowning herself in self-pity and pain because she knew she would never get Caleb back. In a way, he was the one who gave her the force she needed to, not completely let go of him, but just enough so that she could go on her with her life without feeling any remorse.
Now, about the confession scene in the end and the fact that Caleb overheard Ovilia finally admitting to loving him. I have mixed feelings about that scene. I didn't particularly like the fact that Caleb just happened to be there when she confessed but I didn't dislike it either. I knew that there was no way he would divorce Leah when he heard she was pregnant so there was no point in him hearing it but I wanted him to hear it because he needed to. Because she wouldn't say it when they were together in college, and that made it more heartbreaking. Her finally saying it when they both knew they couldn't be together, that is.
And for the amnesia thing, I find it surprising that most people never guessed it was fake but I had my suspicions in the beginning. I couldn't digest the fact that Caleb would tell his amnesia story and girlfriend issues to a complete stranger just because he liked the music she suggested he listened to. Also, he kinda blew his cover by calling her Duchess.
All in all, The Opportunist was a brilliant story, cleverly put together and very well-written. The long year gaps never bothered me and I honestly think that Tarryn Fisher tackled them perfectly. The pacing is excellent and the Past and Present chapters fit together really well and I didn't find myself skipping a chapter just to be able to read either the Past or Present one because both of them were equally endearing. I recommend this to anyone who'd like to read an original, intense and alluring contemporary book. I was pleasantly surprised by it and I hope you will too, if you haven't read it yet.