Release Date: 29th January 2015
Edition: Limited edition proof, review copy
How well do you know your best friend?
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.
A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of teen suicide and self-harm, addressing unspeakable pain with sensitivity and honesty.
I fell in love with Gayle Forman’s writing in years ago, but after not even being able to finish Just One Year, I was hoping that I Was Here would bring it back for me. And although I enjoyed it, it didn’t blow me away.
Gayle Forman has a ridiculously beautiful writing style and everything she writes bleeds with emotion and depth, but I Was Here still didn’t feel like I expected it to. The atmosphere was dark and emotional, but also full of hope, and yet I still felt like something was missing. I knew that Cody was filled with grief, guilt, anger and shame, but I didn’t feel it. I knew that there was sizzling chemistry and lots bubbling under the surface between Cody and Ben, but I didn’t feel it. It was just a bit underwhelming.
The central storyline of I Was Here is an incredibly important one, however. Teenage suicide is something that seems to be making the news more and more recently so it’s a timely one too. As Cody dug deeper in Meg’s suicide note and met the people that she spent her time with while away at college, she discovered what was really going on with Meg in her final weeks. I’m about to talk about a spoiler now, so skip the rest of this paragraph if you have to! Meg was a part of an online support group to encourage suicide and there was one particular user egging her on. It’s such a horrifying thought, but it happens. It was hard to read, but it was powerful.
I Was Here is a wonderfully written and thoughtful read. Though it didn’t give me the punch in the heart that I wanted, I will continue to read Forman’s novels until I get it.
Thanks to S&S for the review copy!