Monday, June 8, 2015

REVIEW: I WAS HERE BY GAYLE FORMAN.

Title: I Was Here
Series:  Stand Alone
Author: Gayle Forman
Edition: Paperback (International Edition)
Publication: January 27, 2015 by Viking Juvenile
Source: Gifted
Pages: 270
Genre: Contemporary, Suicide, Romance, Mental Health
Trailer: to follow

Synopsis:

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

Forman knows her geography. I learned during her Manila stay that she travels a lot and that remarkably showed in her novels. I adored Just One Day and Just One Year so knowing she has a new novel coming up made me cheer. Her previous books toured me around the world and I Was Here toured me as well, though just in the US, it was still lovely for my heart full of wanderlust nonetheless.

I Was Here didn't appeal to me as much as I wanted to. It didn't leave a mark, it didn't tickle my tearducts, it didn't make me feel anything. It was an okay story, I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. It was probably because I didn't fully connect to anything in it: the plot, characters (though am swooning over Ben) or even the progress of the story. It would have worked for me if there were glimpses of Meg's side but her death appeared to be the bridge to the romance which didn't make sense to the entirety of the story. Don't get me wrong, I adored that part of I Was Here, but I couldn't see the connection of it to how or why Meg died. I mean, I was after the grief or pain or loss but I guess, I Was Here touched the unfamiliar side of losing someone which was its downfall in my opinion.

Cody's path in the story was so pretentious to me. It was absurd to be confronting such dangerous people and I honestly couldn't wrap my mind around it. Cody was different in both good and bad ways but the bad weighs heavier than the good. I know she loved Meg so bad but her guilt pushed her to find answers no one in the right set of mind would go for. I couldn't connect to her, to her grief or even to her loss. Or maybe, I couldn't connect to anything about this book at all.

I Was Here was such a let-down book for me. I've read a few emotionally invested story this year but this one was just underwhelming. What's worse is this is the first Forman book I didn't like.

Thank you, Dianne of Oops, I Read a Book Again! for my paperback copy!

"I was reminded just why God wants us to forgive. Not simply because it’s the key to a better world, but because of what it does for ourselves. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us. Christ forgave us. He forgave our sins. That was his gift. But by allowing us to forgive each other, he opened us up to that divine love. The article had it right. Forgiveness: It’s a miracle drug. It’s God’s miracle drug."
"Sometimes you don’t even need to be in the same room for the damage to be done."
"But by the way he's looking at everything in the room but me, I think he knows that he didn't really explain why. And by the way I'm looking at everything in the room but him, I know that I don't really need him to."

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