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, and some secrets of his own. 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.gayleforman.com
“I Was Here” by Gayle Forman is a heart-rending narrative that explores the aftermath of suicide, the complexity of grief, and the journey towards healing. It’s a poignant tale that aims to examine these themes through the eyes of its protagonist, Cody, whose best friend Meg takes her own life.
Forman’s writing shines in her depiction of raw emotion. The grief that Cody experiences is not just stated but felt as well. The sense of loss, confusion, and guilt that she grapples with are intricately woven into the narrative, making the emotions jump off the page. Forman’s unflinching portrayal of these heavy emotions is commendable, and it is what makes this book a deeply moving read.
The bond between Cody and Meg is another highlight of the book. Through flashbacks and recollections, Forman paints a vivid picture of their friendship – it’s deep, complex, and marked by shared secrets. Their connection forms the emotional core of the story, making Meg’s absence feel like a tangible loss to readers.
The prose is accessible and fluent, which makes for a comfortable reading experience. Forman’s knack for creating an atmosphere and building tension is evident in several scenes, particularly as Cody uncovers the circumstances of Meg’s final days.
However, there are areas where “I Was Here” falls short. The plot, while emotionally charged, is rather predictable and doesn’t offer many surprises. The narrative tends to meander at times, causing the pacing to suffer and some sections seem drawn out, which disrupts the overall flow of the story.
The character development is another aspect that could have been improved upon. Despite being the protagonist and narrator, Cody’s character appears quite one-dimensional. Her motivations and actions aren’t always clear or consistent which makes it hard for readers to fully empathize with her.
Certain secondary characters too lack depth and seem to be mere placeholders. This lack of character development undermines the emotional impact of the story to an extent.
In conclusion, “I Was Here” is a sincere attempt at portraying grief and loss. It scores high on emotional depth but falls short when it comes to plot dynamics and character development. It’s a book that will resonate with some readers for its unfiltered portrayal of raw emotions but may leave others wanting more in terms of narrative complexity and character growth.