One of my goals for 2015 is to get back to my roots and read more books. As the great Frederick Douglass said, ‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ Books are a passion – nay, an obsession of mine and always have been. I grew up in the library and my parents fostered my love of reading and learning. With books I have lived a thousand lives, found myself absorbed in different worlds, and learned immensely more than I could have otherwise. So put up your feet, grab a good paperback and let’s get reading!
‘I Was Here’ by Gayle Forman is incredibly heartwarming and heartbreaking. The plot is emotional and hard from the start as the novel is based around suicide which is such an intense, confusing thing as a human to understand. Even more intense and life changing for those of us who have had suicide impact our lives directly or indirectly. The story follows Cody as she struggles to understand why her best friend Meg committed suicide. We go on the journey with her as she delves deeper into Meg’s life, learns things about her she never knew and makes new friends and connections with the people Meg had around her in college. Cody’s struggle with the “why”, and the “what could I have done/did I not see” are so heart felt it is like we as the reader are feeling the same emotions. Forman’s writing of that raw confusion was perfection as Cody tried to reconcile her best friend Meg with the Meg she’s learning about.
The majority of the plot hinges on Cody pursuing the information she finds about Meg’s life which makes her question everything about Meg’s suicide. There are so many times she makes decisions that are reckless in her obsession to discover the ‘why’. I feel that Cody wanted to make sense of things so badly she latched on to this uneasy feeling she had to pursue answers that maybe would make more sense to her – irregardless of any consequences. Forman’s writing was such that I could slip in Cody’s head space so easily. It was like I was on this journey of discovery with her. The conclusion of the novel is heartbreaking, bittersweet, and generally provides the closure that Cody is seeking.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who has lost someone to suicide, those who love YA novels that are heavy (but not too heavy), and of course fans of Gayle Forman. I have yet to read any other novels she has written, but I already have two of them on my hold list at my local library. This novel felt very real and raw. It has an overload of emotions ranging all over, incredibly layered characters, a romance that (rightly) takes a backseat to the main plot, brilliant and compelling writing and an emotional story that hits straight in the heart.
A note- if you or someone you know if feeling suicidal please seek help.
In America, the National Suicide hotline number is 24/7 is 1-800-273-8255.
Click here to see my goals for 2015