Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book Thoughts - If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
published 2009
320 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces — to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.

My thoughts -

I find myself a bit conflicted about this novel. Forman certainly gives readers an affecting novel, full of hard decisions and sad goodbyes. Mia is an engaging and sympathetic heroine, surrounded by friends and family who all act perfectly appropriately given the extreme situation. The writing was quite good, and I liked Forman's use of flashbacks to tell Mia's story.

I think, for me, it just felt a little too perfect - Mia's parents are perfectly understanding about everything in her life. Her boyfriend is perfectly accepting of her, even though they are worlds apart. Her friends are perfectly funny. Her little brother is perfectly precocious. It seemed a little bit like Foreman set up this world on purpose, so the reader had no choice but to feel sorry for Mia - to understand completely why she would NOT want to stay.

I think I was looking for a little more conflict - I little more shading - to make Mia's pre-accident world feel a little bit more realistic. I think it would have made her difficult decision feel a little more true. I certainly didn't NOT like the novel - it just felt a bit simplistic, and I would have appreciated more depth.

I know this novel is almost generally beloved in the blogging world, and I do understand why. It's a lovely story of unconditional love and acceptance. It raises some interesting questions, and keeps the reader guessing until the last page. With just a BIT more nuance, I would have enjoyed it very much.

Finished - 11/10/13
Source - South side library
MPAA Rating - PG-13 for language and adult situations
My rating - 7/10


bermudaonion said...

I haven't read this but I get what you mean - there has to be some conflict in a book.

Literary Feline said...

The premise sounds good. I am not too familiar with this book or author, although I know the name. Sometimes I expect books to be a little more substantial than they are too, and other times the lack of it fits perfectly with the type of book I am reading. It sounds like this one is more the first, and that's too bad.