Book Review: “I Was Here” by Gayle Forman
*May contain spoilers*
Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: Janurary 29th, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Find the Author: Goodreads
I bought this book myself. As always, my reviews are fair and un-bias.
From the bestselling author of If I Stay – this summer’s YA blockbuster film.
This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.
As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.
A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it in an authentic way with sensitivity and honesty.
Cody has just lost her best friend Meg, to suicide. She found out in an email, detailing the vague reasons why and how it isn’t her fault. But that’s all Cody can think – is this her fault? Did she push Meg away when they went separate ways in life? How did she not know Meg was suicidal? A thousand questions rush around in Cody’s head as she tries her best to comprehend a world without her best friend, this piece of the puzzle that makes up who she is. Now it’s gone, there’s this emptiness like a hole in who she is now. That’s why she searches for answers, knowing this can’t just be a straightforward thing.
With the help of Meg’s roommates at college, Cody learns more about Meg than she even thought possible. How desperate she was to end her life and how very little she actually knew about her best friend. I was enthralled by the determination that Cody had in finding out the reasons why and if anyone had known about how Meg felt. She had a courageous spirit, not just getting answers about Meg but about discovering who she was herself – how love came into the equation – and how to understand the cards that life had dealt her.
Gayle Forman is one of those authors who just knows exactly what to write, how to give us the feeling that we’re reading something that isn’t a work of fiction, but real life. For the characters in I Was Here, that is the case.
Many people lose friends, family and people they know, to suicide. The journey that Cody took was a brave one, to try and get justice for her best friend; Meg. She learnt more about the friend she thought she knew so well, and even found a piece of herself she lost along the way. She learnt strength, forgiveness and how unexpected life can be at throwing us a curve-ball of disastrous chaos.
I Was Here moved me, changed me and opened up a world behind closed doors that I hadn’t really read a lot about. It made me question my own life and how sacred and precious our family and friends are to us, and how we treat people and assume things that we know about them. And most of all, just how unpredictable life can truly be, how we have the power to help people who were like Meg, if we just opened our eyes more to the possibilities of knowing not everyone is doing okay. That sometimes, everyone needs help.
A five star novel that was compelling, tragic and powerful, one I know I will never forget. Reading this will change you, too. It’s a novel you can’t miss out on.
What did you think of I Was Here?
Did you think reading it changed you too?
Let me know in the comments!