I have a friend from college. We went to BYU together. He went on a mission. I went on a mission. While I was on my mission, he was in an accident which left him in a coma for a while. He's spent all these years since trying to return to who he was. But one change he has made is that, well, he likes boys now. And his life, it is not happy. (Thankfully he doesn't read our book blog so I can share these things.) I've hidden his posts on Facebook because I couldn't take reading them. There is so much complaining. So much openness on being alone and being depressed and being in despair, he sometimes talks about it being the end, giving up, and honestly, I see it as his way of getting attention and frankly, he goes to far with some of the things he posts. Um, I'm single too. I'm lonely at times, duh! But it has nothing to do with his being gay vs my being straight, because whether or not we are happy, that is purely up to us. I really wish I had the guts to call him on it, that he needs to be happy with himself before he looks for someone else can make him even more happy. Yup, that deserves another DUH!
So, what that has to do with this book? The book has nothing to do with being gay or straight. The characters are all straight, if that sort of things steers you away from a book. But this story is about suicide. I don't know if anyone has lost anyone to suicide. I have known a few people who have taken their own lives. I didn't know them super well, but I knew them. I wonder if they considered how the decision affected the lives of those around them. I won't go into detail, but I do know that my life was hurt by the decisions some made. I think of one person, I'd not met, who took his life. His decision affective my life. I could blame him for the snowball that started with his death, things which happened, not good things mind you. He didn't even know me nor I him. (Please note, I said I could blame him. I'm not that kind of person though, I don't blame him.)
Another thing about myself, I experience a lot of personal guilt. I still feel bad for the snotty kid I was in elementary school. I was not nice to other kids. I was really mean in fact to some. I wish I could replay a lot of my life. I wish I had been nicer. Those Mean Girl type movies seem to illustrate well how, at least this popular kid, wasn't a nice girl. I wish I'd been above going with the crowd. And so I've spent my almost 20 years since high school, as well as some of those years post personal revelation in high school, trying to right my wrongs and be a better person. And then I read a book like this that reminds me of just how detrimental, although unintentional, my actions could have been to another. It just beats me up on the inside.
Now know that I do not believe suicide is the answer to anything. It is never an answer. As I said in the beginning, no matter how difficult life is, and I really, really know the truth of that - just as do you, right? We can still put our best foot forward. We can still just keep trying.
I'll be honest, this just moved to the top of my favorites for 2012 list. It was that powerful of a read for me. I don't want to build it up too much. I want each reader to get what they need to out of this story. And I do hope you find something that you can connect with in the story. Whether you find yourself blaming others too often for the problems you have; whether you are a person who thinks you never do anything wrong; whether you just keep to yourself because then you know you didn't hurt, though nor did you help, another; whether you are the person who is always trying to help others and watch out for others (yes, there is a chapter for you too). This is a young adult fiction book, but I don't recommend this for young readers just because I don't think some parts are appropriate for a young audience. I think the subject appropriate, there are just some actions I wouldn't reference.
Please read. I don't feel like my usual "enjoy" is the right word to use for this one, due to the subject matter. A different word comes to mind this time.
and perhaps a second word, Change.