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I Was Here. This Month's Read

Gayle Forman is really good at making you cry. I was reminded just how much I love reading, every chapter made me think, "Oh, I love this book." 
If you've read or seen If I Stay, you'll know what's in store in this book. Similarly, I Was Here, is a tale of death and coping. It confronts the situation head-on, with the question, if this happened to you, how would you cope? The only difference is the promise that the center character is officially dead and gone. 
I Was Here takes a very real look at a very real scenario that many have faced before. The first chapter opens with a suicide note and the best friend having received it. This story is of two best friends, one commits suicide, while the other tries to cope with the sudden loss. A loss she didn't see coming. 
This book could have gone in the direction of the 7 stages of grief. The best friend is in denial for the first few chapters until she loses it and goes crazy. But instead, we're given Cody, a girl who doesn't have much going on in her life, who, shaken by the sudden hole left in her world, takes this situation on as a mystery. A mystery she must solve - for the sake of her dead best friend Meg, of course. She dives into it, and it takes up all of her time and energy. She wants to know everything. Why? What happened? Who did it? Could I have stopped it? Was it my fault.
She lets the death take up so much of her life, that she never actually grieves, and when she finally does, your heart will break. 

The story follows Cody as she interacts with the people who were in the deceased Meg's life. What makes this book so great, is how real Cody's character is and how easy it is to get sucked into her life. She doesn't have that much going for her, which is probably the realest thing for a fictional character. We've seen the main characters who have dream jobs, perfect families, or high school students who drift into college straight away and get their life moving. But Cody is the girl who doesn't know what she wants and, therefore, stalls after high school. No college, no real career prospects. This is why the death of someone so important, so easily become her whole world. 

This book had me on the edge of my bed, I couldn't put the damn thing down. What's more, I couldn't stop myself from crying. Suicide is a real issue, it's a raw topic and it's feared. The thought that one day, someone you love could just be gone, is terrifying. This book shows you one scinario of what it's like for the loved ones living with the loss. The many questions of why. Was it my fault? Could I have done something to help? The way these kinds of questions can play on you and cause you to dwell on it. 
At times, you do see the stages of grief showing in Cody. The real emotions and reactions you can have. Each stage of grief, however, is played out as Cody meets her best friends' other life and the people that were part of it. She takes you on a journey, a journey of denial. In an attempt to answer all her questions about her best friend's death, she investigates into Megs old life and pulls each little detail apart. To find out why.

By the end of the book, I was in tears. By the end of the book, I felt like I was Cody and it was my best friend who was gone. By the time the last stage of grief hits, the situation is all too real. You've just gone, head first, into your best friends' last few months of her life. You've just learned more about her than you ever knew before, and now that you have, your heart has broken.
The only thing left to do now, is accept it, and begin again. 

This book is a little fun at times, a little light-hearted, a little sweet and very real. It's interesting, intruiging, and full of life. It's also very intimate and at times, feels like a mystery. It pulls on your heartstrings and in general, is such a great book. 

Photo's by Sheree Grace

- Sheree

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