Saturday, 8 February 2014

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman (2009)

Book Review : If I Stay by Gayle Forman


Synopsis:

Mia is eighteen and has the kind of family any of us would pray to be born to and the kind of boyfriend that can only exist in the fictitious world. Furthermore, she is a gifted musician and is about to be accepted into the prestigious Julliard. Mia has a choice, she can follow her love of music, go to Julliard and accomplish her cellist dreams, or she can stay with her family and the love of her life Adam  and follow her heart. Either way, she has something to gain and something to lose. Then, one fateful morning, Mia’s world is turned on its head and life as she knows it changes. Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...
The one thing that remains the same is the question that Mia has asked herself for the past few months, should I go or should I stay?
A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Review:

After a disastrous car accident, Mia finds herself looking down at her own battered body, barely alive. This is one case where, immediately, you get a feel of who these people are, their realness, the love they have for each other. With only a few minutes of getting to know them before the accident, I already felt a connection with Mia and her whole family, turning an already emotional novel into a gutting one. Mia's loss and grief is tangible through Gayle's effortless writing style. It's a tragic tale of unimaginable life changing loss that will make you thankful for everything and everyone you have in life.
This novel is not a story, there is not even a plot per see; in short, it is a chronicle of Mia's life. While she's lost in this sort of limbo, we relive her life with her. She sends us through the ups and downs of her past years. Her relationship, fun family anecdotes, talents, dreams, everything she has ever had, and everyone she can still lose. Mostly, you can see how fast a life full of potential can be changed so drastically. You know that even if she does get through this, nothing will ever be the same. She will not be the same person that we're being introduced to. Through her stories and her time at the hospital, we also get to know other people in her life who love her so fully that you feel their pain for Mia's uncertain future. What got me the most emotional was not Mia's reminiscing, but the reactions to others towards her . There's an especially powerful scene with her grandfather that… ugh *clutches chest*. It shows exactly how talented Gayle is; to be able to render so much sympathy for characters you have only just met, in a book with a mere 200 pages at that, that is some outstanding writing. This is not just Mia's story , it includes everyone that has touched her life as well.

There are two kinds of books, those that you finish reading and leave you with fleeting memories of the attractive hero, the silly heroine, and the overall storyline, or perhaps all you noted was the glaring plot holes, inconsistencies, ridiculousness or flat characters. At any rate, it’s a book that you read, either like or dislike, but no sooner than you have turned the last page, it is out of sight and out of mind. Then there is the other kind of book that will touch your heart, or awaken a lingering memory or a potential fear that will haunt your mind so that even long after you’ve fallen asleep, your unconscious self is still wading through the details. Your dreams will be fitful and when you finally awaken, you will find yourself tangled up in sheets with puffy, swollen eyes from tears that you shed when you weren’t even aware enough to know you were crying.

"If I Stay is the latter. It will stay with you somewhere in your subconscious mind forever."

My Rating for this heart wrenching book is : 
****

Reviewed By : Fouzia Umer

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