Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I Was Here is my second Gayle Forman book and I have to say I loved it more than my first. It’s a book that deals with many important issues that result from a friend’s suicide: guilt, grief, forgiveness, and love.

While I myself have never gone through what Cody, the main character had to go through in the novel, Forman made me feel as though I was actually going through it. Her writing style combined with the harsh way Cody viewed things in the beginning made me feel all the turmoil Cody was going through. At the same time, it made me think about what I’d actually feel if this happened to me.

Like All The Bright Places Forman’s book brought depression to the table and showed how it is a hidden demon that families and people are willing to overlook because it has a negative connotation. However, Forman’s book also brought other questions to light that really had me thinking and hit home for me as someone who’s dealt with my own issues and seen what depression does to people close to me. The book made me think about why there wasn’t more help for people struggling with depression and why mental illness is so taboo in the American culture.

Finally, the book had me asking myself whether or not I should be the one who resents a friend for committing suicide or if I should learn to grieve and forgive. It made me wonder if there’s more I can do for the ones I love to make their day a little brighter and it had me asking why people are so angry at those who commit suicide. I understand that people might be angry because their friend or family member killed themselves or because they feel it was a selfish act. However, I wonder (and I know this would be the case for me) if it’s not that people are actually angry at themselves because they feel they could have done more to let their loved ones know they care. I know I’d feel angry with myself because I didn’t do enough and wish I could have done something to prevent it from happening. I Was Here deals and answers all these questions in a heartwarming way that left me satisfied but that also had me asking questions of my own.

I’m so glad this book was written as it brought new issues to light. I think that it needed to be written and that like other books publishing in 2015 that deal with suicide, it brings it’s own view to the table.

Overall, I thought I Was Here was a great book that brought the issue of depression to light and showed how a family and whole town was impacted by one girl’s death. I think that it’s an important book that people should read as it raises many questions about our culture’s view on suicide and depression.

Let’s Discuss:
Are you glad books like this are being written to raise awareness about depression and suicide?

Do you wish more books were written about the subject or are you tired of it?

What are your opinions on the book?

Do you feel suicide and depression need to be talked about more or would you like to see other issues brought to light?

What do you think of the stigma around mental illness and why do you think it exists?

Leave your thoughts in the comments so we can discuss. 🙂



One thought on “Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman”

  1. This book and I didn’t click at all. I appreciate that suicide and depression are being discussed, and stigmas being dispelled, but I didn’t appreciate the way it was executed. And I didn’t think the romance was appropriate for this story. I DNF’d All the Bright Places so maybe I just have a problem with suicide/depression books?


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