First, let's get to the review. This is not my first book by Gayle Forman. I knew what I was getting into. For some reason I think YA author's who have garnered success with romance, feel they must stick with that genre. I really didn't feel that the romance was needed here. I also feel that it distracted from the main storyline. I understand why Ben needed to be in the novel, but the romance was a mistake, in my opinion. I thought Cody was well written. She reacted in ways that I could understand. Maybe not ways I would have behaved. We all react to death differently. I really liked Runtmeyer and his reactions were some of the most realistic in the book. I thought that Forman did a wonderful job of handling a very touch subject.
The "suicide support group" might have been explained a little better. I'm an adult and I found some of it confusing. I understand why it was included, but again, I'm not sure it was handled correctly. I enjoyed the story and it made me look at the subject of suicide with a new lens, but it did have problems that could use some work. I did appreciate the fact that Forman was willing to tackle this "touchy" subject.
Now, since I know hardly anyone reads this blog, I am just going to spill my guts. So if you don't want to dive in, you should stop reading now!
Okay, having recently dealt with a suicide in my family, I want to give an idea of how it has affected me. I come from a very large family and live in a very small town, the two don't always go together well. Several of my cousins are old enough to be my parents, and they have children who are close to my age. I have grown up with second cousins who were more like first cousins. I hope that makes sense. At any rate my own family had never had to deal with someone taking their own life. We have experienced a lot of death. Out of ten children in my father's family, only three are still alive. But none of those were from suicide. This brought out a whole new experience at the funeral home.
First of all, I have never dealt with such an emotional experience. So many people, friends and family, were SO angry!! I know that anger is one of the stages of dealing with death, but never have I seen it so poorly handled. There was inappropriate behavior at the funeral home itself, the graveside service, and even the dinner. I have never heard so much anger, over so many silly things. I did my best to keep my emotions in check, but I must admit that I was angry too. Angry that three children were left with no father, angry that I would never again be approached for advice, angry that I couldn't do anything to make it better. You might think that you could feel that at any death, and you would be right. For me this manner of dying just brought me to an anger that I have never felt from death before. I am still not on speaking terms with several members of the family who did not handle themselves with tact at these events.
Second of all, I hope that no one ever has to experience what I have experienced. Death is hard, suicide is almost unbearable. We all know that we will die, but when it is at your own hands, it is so very hard for everyone around you to accept. Feelings of blame, depression, withdraw, fault, and contemplation abound. I hope beyond hope that if anyone ever has to deal with this terrible issue, they have a huge support system in place.
Thirdly, if you are in this situation and have dealt with the suicide of a friend, or family member, and are feeling angry or sad. PLEASE, find someone to talk to. Suicide leaves everyone behind scrambling to pick up pieces that can't be grasped with any amount of hands. I am sure if you are sad or angry or hurt, someone else feels exactly the same as you, maybe even worse. Hug that girl who is crying, because you might be the only one who does.
Finally, if you are considering that life would be better without you here, seek help! PLEASE do not ignore the warning signs. If you have a friend who needs you to listen, DO IT! If someone says that they are contemplating something, Take that seriously! Better to be the one who told and still have the person alive, then to say nothing and have them gone. Be the strength that the person cannot have on their own. Be a friend! Don't Bully! Help others in any way that you can. I promise you that life will get better! One day you will look back and realize how crazy it ever was to feel the way that you did!
If you need help with these issues please check these links.
Don't ever be ashamed by the way you feel! Everyone needs help at sometime in their life, I promise!