Tuesday, February 17, 2015

If I Stay

I've seen this book on bookshelves for ages and have continuously ignored its presence. It was a YA book, I assumed a love story, and while the idea of the main character being in a coma and "how are they going to write a book that way" was intriguing, it wasn't enough for me to pick the book up.

Then I saw the trailer for the film. I didn't even realize it was a movie based on a book, not until near the end. Good job, movie producers, because I may have ignored it if I saw at the very beginning that the preview I was seeing was for this book (considering how determined I was to stay away from it for no good reason). The trailer caught my attention, I was interested in the cast, and I immediately was thinking, "I kind of want to see this movie."

Then I saw the title and went, "Well, shit. Now I have to read the book."

And read it I did.

The story is somewhat hard to swallow but not because it is poorly written or any of that -- it's the subject matter that's strange. Here we are, reading the memories of a girl who is in a coma after a horrible accident that killed her family. I was caught up in the story of how she met her family, how her family became a family, and her teenage years but then would be brought back to the present -- her present -- and the jarring fact that her life was hanging in the balance and the wonderful characters I had come to know were (at least some of them) dead.

The book can't help but bring the reader to question what they would do. Would you stay or would you go if you were aware of all that is going on around you and you had that choice. Would you stay or go if you had lost the people who you held dear. It was a question I kept turning over in my head and I'm glad of the author to not make it into an easy decision for the main character.

There were many relatable quotes in this book, many that you could highlight and think "this is something I would like said to me" or "I agree with this so much." But my particularly favorite section, my favorite moment, was when the main character's grandfather sat with her and was honest. If she wanted to go, she could, he would understand, but he did want her to stay as well. It was a very real moment, something that I have experienced when family members were on the brink of death. There is a certain romance with death, especially in fiction, but in the end when you are at the bedside of someone you love, someone who has suffered greatly, you will at times think of what could potentially be the best option for them, "I don't want you to suffer anymore. I'll miss you so much, I don't want you to leave, but it's ok if you go." That idea, that message, was what has hung onto me since I finished this book.

There is a follow-up book to this, a sequel if you will, which I'm not as interested in reading. I was satisfied with this book and I do want to see the movie (and judge it accordingly as I often do). But I don't want to mar the impression this book left on me with reading the following book. I'm perfectly content with the experience of this one.

Last Week's Review: Dancing with Mr. Darcy by Various Authors
Next Week's Review: Longbourn by Jo Baker

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