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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

BOOK review
Started on: 25.June.2015
Finished on: 29.June.2015

Title : I Was Here
Author : Gayle Forman
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Pages :  270 pages / 265 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication : 2015
Price : $ 9.53 (

Rating: 3/5
"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."
Cody was utterly shocked when she received an email from her best friend, Meg, that declared her decision to take her own life. And Cody was even more flabbergasted when she found out it was not a joke. Meg drank a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner in a motel room, and even left a tip for the cleaning lady who will find her body. Meg's parents are equally devastated; but Cody felt incredibly guilty because how can she not notice the signs before, when she's Meg's best friend? How can she not know that Meg was having suicidal thoughts? When Meg's parents sent Cody to pack Meg's belongings that was left behind in college, Cody discovered a lot of things about her lifelong best friend that she never knew about.

"I don't know what would be worse. If I did know and didn't tell them. Or the truth, which is that even though Meg was my best friend and I have told her everything there is to tell about me and I'd assumed she'd done the same, I'd had no idea. Not a clue."
In Meg's college town, Cody discovered Meg's roommates and two cats that Meg adopted. And soon after, Cody met Ben McCallister—a boy who plays in a band, and who Cody believes had broke Meg's heart. Cody thought Ben was responsible for Meg's decision to take her own life, but it turns out that everything is much more complicated than that. Cody and Ben shared the same guilt regarding what had happened to Meg. They both believed Meg's suicide can be prevented if they had known better. And together, they tried to unravel the mystery behind Meg's death—starting from an encrypted file in Meg's laptop that could not be opened.
"I wish I hadn't. Because when I look at Ben McCallister one last time, he has this expression on his face—it's the particular contortion when fury meets guilt. And I know that look. I see it every day in the mirror."
image source: here. edited by me.
Sadly, I'd have to say that this book disappoints me. Don't get me wrong, I still love Gayle Forman's writing style which I always think is beautiful; but I guess the storyline of this book doesn't really satisfy me. The book is written from the first point of view of Cody, so the readers will get to see how she felt and what she's thinking about through everything that's happened in the story. The main plot of the story is about Cody trying to find the reason why Meg did what she did, and at the same time trying to get rid of her guilt over not knowing anything about her best friend. It is indeed a very heartbreaking and depressing story; and I kept on reading because I'm eager to find out why exactly Meg decided to take her own life. Unfortunately, I find myself getting a little bored halfway through the book because I wasn't invested enough in the story or how it develops. And if you've read some other reviews on Goodreads about this book, there are some people who have issues with the romance—and I quite agree with that. I understand that both Cody and Ben both share the same guilt and regret after Meg's death, but the chemistry feels a bit off. But of course I kept on reading because I want to know how the story will end. However.... the ending doesn't satisfy me the way I hoped it would be. Not going to spoil anything in this review, but that's just how I felt about it. I'm very sad actually because I was hoping to fall in love with this book as much as other people did; but I guess the slow-paced plot just doesn't fully resonate with me :1

"Is this how it is with lies? The first one comes hard, the second one easier, until they slip off your tongue easier than truths—maybe because they're easier than truths."
Aside from the disappointing factors of the book, I still find this book quite thought-provoking. I don't think I ever read any book that involves suicide before, so this is practically new for me. As much as the story focuses on revealing the story behind Meg's suicide, I think it's actually more about the story of the people left behind—especially Cody. At first Cody was just trying to find out what triggered Meg's suicide, which led her to Ben McCallister. After that Cody figured out the 'support group' that Meg was in, and found someone that she thought was responsible for Meg's suicide. And I kind of feel like Cody is trying to find someone else to blame for what has happened; to get rid of her own guilt for not noticing the signs. Which is really sad, because I'm sure nobody else blamed her except for herself. And there are moments in this book when it seems like Cody felt that she doesn't deserve to be happy after what happened to her best friend. And most importantly she felt wrong for being happy with Ben—who was important to Meg at a time. At least I'm relieved that things ended on a good note for Cody. She figured out what actually happened to her best friend and was finally able to let things go.
"And in that moment, I was reminded just why God wants us to forgive. Not simply because its the key to a better world, but because of what it does for ourselves. Forgiveness is God's gift to us."
Even though this book was a bit of a letdown, I still find Gayle Forman's writing extremely beautiful. Through this story, I kind of get the idea of how a person's suicide will affect the people left behind—the people who have to cope with guilt, regret, and sadness because they could not prevent it from happening. And I absolutely adored what Gayle Forman wrote in the Author's Note, in which she mentioned a part of the book when Richard said that 'everyone goes there'that everyone has ever thought about ending one's life. To be completely honest, I've been there too. There are days when I thought 'Wouldn't it be easier if life just ends right here, right now?'. But that doesn't mean I have suicidal thoughts; I never planned anything nor have I ever attempted to end my own life, because I know that life can get better and things will pass over time.
"When Richard says, "Everyone goes there," I think he is right. I think everyone has days or weeks so lousy, they fantasize about simply not existing. This is different from having suicidal thoughts taking over your head, having the thoughts become plans, the plans become attempts."
Overall, despite my disappointments, I think there's an important message delivered from the author through this story. It's a message for both the people who have suicidal thoughts and those who are left behind. As I've said earlier, this book is very depressing from beginning to end. And the next time Gayle Forman writes a book, I hope it'll be something uplifting, cute, and fluffy. Lastly, here's a quote by Gayle Forman that's written in the Author's Note section of the book—which I think is absolutely beautiful and is also important for everyone to know.

"Life can be hard and beautiful and messy, but hopefully it will be long. If it is, you will see that it's unpredictable, and that the dark periods come, but they abatesometimes with a lot of supportand the tunnel widens, allowing the sun back in. If you're in the dark, it might feel like you will always be in there. Fumbling. Alone. But you won'tand you're not."
by.stefaniesugia♥ .


  1. salam kenal stef~

    wah, kemarin aku sempet liat novel ini di periplus tapi ga jadi beli soalnya kayaknya buku-bukunya gayle forman ga terlalu cocok buat aku. anyway, reviewnya bagus kakk sama paling suka quote yg terakhir itu :')

    1. Salam kenal juga! Emg tergantung selera kali yah :))) And thank you for enjoying my review ;)


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