Sunday, February 1, 2015

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was HereI Was Here by Gayle Forman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I Was Here

In all of Forman's books, we witness characters on some emotional path navigating the same sometimes clumsily, but always with others and because of others. In this it's Cody because of Meg and with Ben and all others left reeling by the second's choice. Yet it's Meg who felt most plausible. Never mind all the additional threads of who Tricia was or wasn't for Cody, or who Ben was or wasn't, for that matter. For me, it's Meg and her choice and all that's subsequent to that which tugged at me first.

Meg read plausible, no, real to me... because as both Richard in the book, and Forman later on holds, we've all been there. And that's what made this more, in how one moment translated into another -- urge to feeling to consideration to exploration to an action, or actions in Meg's case. It was all scarily accurate. An accuracy that had me wondering at its purpose. Was there too morbid a depiction here? Not exactly. If anything, Forman's specificity renders the whole thing less unclear, making things and their consequence more urgent. While more or less sensitively handled, I Was Here focuses on the fact that shit like this happens and not that it's OK.

To which I turn to Cody. The consequences for her are as expected- grief, anger... and a slew of actions with no real purpose, prompted by both emotions. Yet it's in those moments, that things happen, when she makes things happen to see things through. Because, otherwise, her story without Meg in the picture, simply devolves into "Is this my life?!" musings. I was never was quite sold on her as the lead. Too many things going on with her; too many things not dealt with that it took loss for things to finally progress. Perhaps, that's the point? Things, people move. Act... eventually.

Then Ben and who he was and what they would become. Was it necessary, this sudden love? Debatable... is each event in this separate or are they interconnected? Did Ben knowing Meg, and then Ben knowing Cody impact on anything anything here? Anyone could see where the story was going once the guitar playing bad boy type was introduced... but frankly, was it needed? Yet without him in the story I am almost certain I WAS HERE would have been too much the "sunless planet" Cody made reference to. Too dark, too sad, too real. Perhaps, a little Hollywood-happy is a positive, even if their Hollywood-happy was "fucked up and complicated."

Thank you, PBT.

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