I Was Here, Gayle Forman

I Was Here

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated.

She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

Every new book released by Gayle Forman is an event for me. So, when I Was Here came out in January, I immediately bought it, even if I know I wasn’t going to read it before some time. I had exams and then was overloaded such an amount of work that I decided to wait until the perfect moment to read this book, in order not to spoil it. :-)

So you can see how high my expectations were. Gayle Forman always chose subjects that matter to me and manage to add some music stuff in it. Music isn’t as present in I Was Here than it was in If I Stay or Where She Went, of course, but you’ll still get a handsome musician and some very beautiful lines of songs.

But that’s not the most important part. This book is about the very tricky subject of suicide, and I know it might sound scary but it is very well tackled with. You have the perspective of Cody, whose best friend killed herself. She never suspected anything and this sudden loss drives her to search for answers. She’ll find some dreadful ones which are worth talking about, because this story is really about reality. You or a loved one might have to get some advice and warning.

I like the way this book helps to understand why people commit suicide. The author’s note itself at the end of the book is worth buying the book. Many people minimize what we call mental illnesses but they are illnesses that can be fatal too. There’s a difference between thinking about not existing anymore and seriously consider attending to your life, but everybody has belonged at least to the first category, so it might make you able to understand even 2% of the feelings of people with real suicidal thoughts.

Cody, the main character, is full of anger, sadness and wrongful guilt. She is bitter, sometimes she seemed a bit cruel to me but I don’t think it is the right word to describe her. She is a very strong character who got hurt. She needs help and she needs answers, which is almost the same thing in the case of I Was Here, even if she will also find things she wasn’t looking for.

That brilliant story of friendship, forgiveness, loss, love and family is perfectly sustained by Gayle Forman’s writing. She gives life to her characters. They are such characters that you CAN’T not remember their names while writing your review afterwards (like it sometimes happen to me, I confess) because they could be your neighbours. You have learnt to know them and you left them like friends at the end of the book. That’s always the same path with Gayle Forman’s books: at the end you’re both filled with sadness and happiness. But I would be happy to enjoy another ride.

My feels: 9/10

I Was Here, Gayle Forman, Viking (+ or – 11,61€)

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