Once the reading world has moved on from Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, and I think it pretty much has, I recommend reading another one of her books: I Was Here.
While not the most intellectually brilliant, philosophical or romantic book, it brings attention to suicide in teenagers and those suffering from mental illness. As well, it focuses on horrifying suicide support groups and forums, which I didn’t know existed before this.
Forman bravely opens up a discussion about death, suicidal ideation and depression in a society still struggling to acknowledge them despite its fear. She does so in an educational and entertaining way, creating a story that doesn’t lose itself to the darkness it deals with.
It quickly become an all-night read for me. It was a little off-putting at first with the immediate loss of hope from the secondary character’s suicide, but well worth persisting through. Whether you are looking for an easy, young adult read with a touch of romance, kittens and intriguing investigation, or a deeper, thought-provoking look into the world of suicide and death, I hope you can find it in Gayle Forman’s I Was Here.
I love things like Bell’s Let’s Talk Day for raising money for mental illness, but if people just participate to raise money, it defeats the other purpose of reducing the stigma associated with mental illnesses. I don’t want to do that here. With love for Forman for discussing these issues, I wanted to share why her actions are important to me.
Personally I have suffered from depressive episodes and suicidal ideation myself. There have been many months spent suffering from the mental and physical symptoms of depression. Days wasted on sleep, food left untouched and unwanted, a numbness I couldn’t shake, and an eroding feeling of being burdensome. There were long periods where every day I thought about suicide at least once, if not endlessly. I thought about my roommates finding my body. How long would it take them to notice, to wonder? I thought about my mom. Could I do this to her? I think part of it is, when we become so desensitized we become more dangerous.
But I’m still here. I got through it and I’m doing really well, for now at least. It’s not as easy for everyone though, and that’s why I think dialogue and acceptance is so crucial and needs to be encouraged.
If you’ve already read it, let me know what you think. Am I horribly wrong about this book? What else I should read?