Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Musings: before i fall

Before I Fall

The trailer I thought I made up for If I Stay?

It was actually for this book. I've embedded it at the bottom of the post.

I loved this book. The voice was strong, and Sam, the narrator, really pulled me in. I think in some cases there were gratuitous details, but I also understand why they were there: to create a life for this girl. A life like any other life.

What I learned from it wasn't as much about craft as it was about me. Reviewers on GoodReads said they believed at the beginning of the boom Sam "deserved to die". Her actions, or the actions of her peers that she went along with, made it okay. They had no sympathy for her at the beginning.

But I did.

I was never, ever a popular girl. I was on the outskirts, not made fun of but not a part of it. I heard about the parties after they happened. But I knew what it was like to go along with a joke without analysing it. I attached myself to friends with strong personalities, went along with what they said without thinking. At some point, we've all found ourselves in a position to do something Sam did. Do we deserve to die for that? No. Does any seventeen-year-old? Not in my view.

Other thoughts, The Groundhog Day-esque repetition of Sam's DeathDay could have been mind-numbing, but it wasn't. Some times I wanted to see more thought behind her motives. The day she steals her mom's credit card, for instance, I understood her motives but would have liked them to be addressed a little more.

The best part of the book, for me, was that it showed how very, very different each day can be with a few tweaks. A few other choices, and a little more knowledge. Pay attention, it seems to say, to the point where Sam's mission matters less, and the message matters more.

Which is good, because in the end, someone has to die.


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