"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I Was Here, by Gayle Forman

As with other books of this subject, I add the following caveat:
If you are depressed or having thoughts of suicide, no matter how small, please seek help.  Even in the last decade, medical science has become so much more capable of helping people with depression.  If you see a doctor who says that you are fine when you are not, or who just throws pills at you that don't help, then see another doctor.  Involve your loved ones and ask them to help you.  No matter what you are going through, there are treatments that can give you the quality of life you wish you had.

     Never having read any of Gayle Forman's works, I decided to give this one a try based on reviews of If I Stay.  And while I Was Here is a tough read, it's a good one.  It examines suicide from the point of view of the surviving loved ones, and in a very thorough way.

    The plot (sans spoilers):  Cody is shocked when her best friend, Meg, kills herself.  They'd been apart during their first year in college, but there was nothing that indicated to Cody that Meg might be contemplating death.  And when Meg's family asks Cody to pick up Meg's belongings from her college apartment, Cody is thrown into a world of Meg's that she didn't know existed.  Cody becomes driven to learn why Meg killed herself, and in the process learns about her own place in the world of the living.

     I appreciate this book because it does a very good job of relating the feelings of the family and friends of a suicide.  The absolute despair, the confusion, and most importantly the guilt are all portrayed in a very real way.  And I think that these are important topics, mainly because so many people who commit suicide think they are doing their loved ones a favor.  In point of fact, the opposite is true.  The book is valuable just because it explores these emotions.  I pray that this book leads any depressed adult (young, or otherwise) to seek help.  And the book encourages its readers to do so, since it also discusses the life-saving options that are available to people contemplating suicide.  

     Never once does it glorify suicide, but instead portrays it as the twisted and sadly contagious killer that it is.  Forman also delves a little into faith-based beliefs about suicide, which I admire her for in today's society.  And no, it's not preachy.

     The book is a tough read, and I certainly don't recommend you give this book to someone who is currently depressed in hopes that it will be a wake up call.  It will only worsen their depression.  But something like this ought to be required reading in high schools.  It's raw, but it's reality, and it could save lives.

     Five out of Five Stars