Published by Viking Children's Books
Published on January 27th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Death & Dying, Friendship, Realistic FIction, Suicide, Young Adult
Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
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, who broke Meg’s heart. 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.
I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.
Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors. I loved If I Stay and Just One Day, so when I saw this book, I had to read it. I didn’t read the synopsis, as usual, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into, except that, like most of the books that Forman wrote, her writing was so easy to slide into.
Somehow, the book was supposed to be about friendship. Meg is Cody’s best friend, and right off the bat, we were told that she died. Meg committed suicide. Cody kept talking about how they were best friends, but since Meg already died, I didn’t get the feel of their supposed closeness, how much of them are peas in pod. I found Cody sort of detached. As a third party looking into her life, I didn’t get to grasp how much she was affected by Meg’s death. But I couldn’t stop reading. Damn, Forman!
Cody grew up without a father, and her mother, Tricia, wasn’t so much of a mother. So Cody told us that she spent most of her time growing up with Meg and her family. Going on trips with them, having family dinners, doing family things that she never does with her mother. Meg and Cody had plans to go to the same college, but it didn’t work out that way, so when Meg died, her family asked Cody to pick up Meg’s stuff from her dorm to bring back home.
That’s how Cody ended up meeting her love interest, which, at first, she found to be a jerk. But for some reason, I didn’t find him jerk-like at all. He adopted kittens! C’mon?! But yeah, Ben was a typical guy who does one-night-stands, and is a guitarist in a band.
Anyway, I am not going to talk about how they got together, but more about how the book made me feel nothing. I expected a sliver of hurt, or maybe shed a little tear here and there, but I wasn’t even a bit touched by the book, even though it talked about suicide, and how the best friend was trying to deal about the loss. I have lost people, and I understand that there are different ways to deal with loss, but I know that among the differences, there is a common ground, where your heart is at least touched. I found Cody’s narration dull and so uneventful. You know those kinds of indie films that are so flat that you just want to fall asleep? But I still couldn’t stop reading.
I commend Gayle Forman for tricking me into reading the whole novel. I even had a sleepless day or two. I wanted to know more, I wanted to see if there is more, but in the end, it didn’t satisfy my craving for a good realistic fiction. I guess, compared to All The Bright Places, this one is just bad. At least in ATBP, I felt something. I liked Theodore Finch. Here, Cody was just, well, Cody. As plain as her name. (No offense to other Cody’s out there.) I would still pick up books by Gayle Forman. She does have a way of writing raw and emotional pieces, but this just didn’t do it for me. #