Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: “‘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. Meg’
Cody and Meg were inseparable – best friends for life. They knew everything about each other. Or Cody thought they did. But how well do you ever really know your best friend? And what do you do when they choose to leave you behind?”
Our protagonist is the 18 (or maybe 19? Possibly 19) year-old Cody who has recently lost her “better half”. After receiving her suicide note (which was sent as an e-mail), she begins to look for reasons that could have pushed Meg to committing suicide. During this “journey”, she learns a lot of things about Meg and realises that she didn’t actually know her. Not only this, but she also learns quite a few things about herself, too.
“She didn’t tell me that she found life to be so unbearably painful. I mean, I didn’t even have a clue.” A kind of laugh escapes, and I know that if I’m not very careful, what follows will be something I don’t want to hear, that no one wants to hear. How can you not know that about your best friend? Even if she doesn’t tell you, how can you not know? How can you believe someone to be beautiful and amazing and just about the most magical person you’ve ever known, when it turns out she was in such pain that she had to drink poison that robbed her cells of oxygen until her heart had no choice but to stop beating? So don’t ask me about Meg. Because I don’t know shit.”
I am not going give too many details about the plot as it is not that unique, I mean I really don’t want to sound rude or anything but I’m pretty sure there are many books out there with the same plot. So I will just get to the things I liked and didn’t like.
In the beginning of the book, the phrase “dead on purpose” was used quite frequently and I don’t know how that made me feel. Maybe a little bit disturbed? Because hey, this girl committed suicide and you can’t really blame her for taking her life or I don’t know, use the “dead on purpose” thing. That’s just, wrong. *shrugs*
My favourite thing about this book was how the relationship between Cody and Tricia -her mom- developed over time (meaning from the beginning until the end of the book). Tricia was portrayed as your typical YA-mother in the beginning, doesn’t give any shit about her daughter and goes through boyfriends like they are clothes and all that. However, she began to show her motherly instincts and behaviour towards the climax. She showed that she actually did care about Cody and her welfare.
“You had a pile of rocks, and you cleaned them up pretty and made a necklace. Meg got jewels, and she hung herself with them”
The plot was also well-written. It flowed gracefully, the plot-twist thing-ies weren’t gone overboard or anything, you know? However, sometimes I couldn’t find a proper meaning behind her actions, and what I mean by this is that sometimes she wasn’t thinking or acting reasonably but I’m thinking it was because her grief that wasn’t expressed quite well was blocking her brain or something. In my opinion, she didn’t talk about Meg’s death quite enough to get over with it, instead, she kept everything bottled in or talked about herself very briefly. And when she did choose to cry after Meg, I couldn’t really get the emotion.
That was probably the most frustrating thing, the lack of emotion. The book was amazing, I devoured it, like I finished it in 4 hours or something like that? Believe me, it wasn’t boring at all but I couldn’t feel the emotions at. All. And that’s very sad because I have friends who said “this book killed me” or “it was amazing” and things like that but I didn’t feel like that.
“Anything that kills hope is a sin”
The whole concept of not really knowing your best friend struck me deeply because this is definitely the case when it comes to some friendships today, especially if you are a close group of friends. You can do everything together, you can be two peas in a pod if you’d like but that won’t change the factor that you won’t know anything real, anything meaningful about this said friend unless they let you or unless you really try.
To sum it up, I can say that even though it had a known/common plot, I still thought this book was fun to read, especially with its plot-twists.
“I was here.”