I’m becoming more and more of a fan of Gayle Forman’s the more I read of her. She does a good job capturing what it’s like to be a teenager again: the emotions, the relationships, the fears and hopes and dreams. Her writing is easy to get through but is fun and engaging to read.
I Was Here, to me, is really a novel that works to bring awareness to mental illness. Over the past few years I feel like talking about mental health or having a mental health problem has become less taboo. We are more open to it and aware and we want to help (obviously not all of us, but a lot of people). This is great, though there is still work to be done. But even though people might be ready to listen it doesn’t mean the people needing to be heard will speak.
Cody is a good example. She loved Meg, thought they were best friends, and they were, but she still was completely unaware of her condition. It was through no fault of her own, and I wouldn’t even say it was Meg’s parents fault. Again, their actions were dictated by a societal norm that causes more harm than good in these situations. It’s sad and unfortunate but very much true.
This isn’t the first book I’ve read about teen suicide, nor will it probably be the last. Those other books were great, but I appreciate this one even more because it is very clearly shining a spotlight on the way we treat mental illness and how it needs to change. I recommend reading the Author’s Note at the end of the book as well.