I’m unbelievably behind on book reviews again!!
So its catch up time…
Here’s the first one
This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.
As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.
Cody wakes one morning to find an email from her best friend Meg, telling her that she has taken her own life:
I regret to inform you that I have had to take my own life. This decision has been a long time coming, and was mine alone to make. I know it will cause you pain, and for that I am sorry, but please know that I needed to end my own pain. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. It’s not your fault.
The letter sparks a wave of emotions in Cody and on her part she tries her hardest to figure out why Meg did such a thing. When she ends up at the college that Meg went to, to retrieve her things for her parents, Cody comes across Meg’s laptop and she’s desperate to find out why she did what she did.
Opening up Meg’s emails she reads through some of them and finds that some of her emails are missing and an encrypted file is on her laptop. With the help of some Meg’s room-mates from college, Cody manages to piece together some of Meg’s secrets as to why all of this happened and why she wouldn’t have been able to stop it…
As soon as I picked up this book I was hooked from the start.
I Was Here is a story of loss and heart break and then picking up the pieces when everything is over. And it was one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Everything about this book is real. The way Gayle Forman writes and executes her story telling, there’s no holding back.
The issue of suicide is a sensitive subject but Gayle is able to explore this in a way that makes you understand it more and the way the people are left behind to recover and attempt to move on is such a heart breaking time.
So many times I wished Meg told someone about what she was going through. Maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t have been driven to swallow industrial strength liquid. It was strange to mourn a character that we only ever saw through the eyes of Cody and through the people Meg had left behind but I found that I did.
Meg was deeply depressed and not enough attention is focused on it. Depression is a mental health problem (I should know, I suffer from it) and people are ignorant of it. Its one of those illnesses that you can’t see. Its hidden. you hide it from people you love and care about and you hide it from the outside world.
Meg’s depression must have been so so so severe that she honestly had no other option than to take her own life. Its such a sad and terrible thing but to some people there are no ways out. That is the only option for them.
Cody, like all friends, blames herself. She should have seen it, should have gone up to see her more at college, should have helped her in someway, but even if she was there for her, I have a feeling that Meg still would have done it anyway.
I cried with this book, because the raw emotion that Gayle put into this book was fantastic. I cried for Cody; The girl who wanted to help and loved her friend so much she put herself through dark thoughts and that suicide help website, to get to the bottom to why Meg died.
I cried for Meg’s parents and her younger brother, the one’s who were coming to terms with the aftermath.
I cried a little for Ben. The guy who felt guilty because he told Meg to leave him alone instead of listening to her.
And mainly I cried for Meg.
I know its a book and its not “real life” but things like this happened and Gayle really delved into the dark side of depression and suicide beautifully.
Of course there was the element of romance in the book between Ben and Cody and I loved how they slowly came to that point, despite the history between him and Meg. It was one of things that seemed doomed from the start but the more they got involved with the case and the more they spent time together the more they came to realise that there were feelings.
I am so glad someone wrote a book on this and I’m glad it was Gayle Forman who did. She is a fantastic writer and, as much as I loved If I Stay and Where She Went, this has got to be one of my favourites.
Its raw, its emotional, its hones, its heart-breaking and above all it has a level of acceptance.
Beautiful book with beautiful words.
5 out of 5 stars.