Publish Date: 31 January 2017
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Goodreads Rating: 4.44 Stars
*This book was provided to me via NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest review.*
Great plot. Great execution. Good ending.
I really enjoyed this book and it boils down to three things: the topic, the presentation, and the writing.
As suicide becomes more and more a part of the discussion, there is an uptick in the amount of books whose primary characters are suicidal, influenced by suicide, or otherwise fold suicide into the equation. These books are wonderful. I love them even when I’m not a fan of the overall story simply for the social impact they bring. Thankfully, we don’t have to choose here: the presentation in I Liked My Life one ups any book on the subject that I have read so far.
My familiarity with this topic lies with YA and from the perspective of teenagers. Here, our suicide is a seemingly well-balanced mom who seemingly had it all. There is a significant difference between teenagers and adults; the perspective switch is enlightening. Another new for me that is written perfectly is the focus on the aftermath of suicide rather than the events leading up to it. The differences between the books I have read and I Liked My Life are powerful.
I always feel strange discussing how I feel about an author’s writing because, for me, it’s all about the fluidity of the story and the ability to evoke emotion. I don’t know or understand the technical aspects and I’m not sure whether to be ashamed of that. (I mean, how can I judge a writer when I have no sense about the subject?) My insecurities aside, Abby Fabiaschi spins a great tale. The character growth is fascinating and even the strained relationships are written in a familiar manner, making the reader feel comfortable.
The ending was satisfying in the sense that it brings the reader closure, but the more I think about it, the more I view it as a missed opportunity. Aka, I wish it ended in a differently. (Major Spoiler: Please don’t read if you’re planning or wanting to read this someday.
Okay, here it goes. I thought this book would be a great opportunity to show that suicide can occur for all sorts of people in all sorts of circumstances. Unfortunately, the ending clarifies that this was not a suicide, it was an accidental death. While it allowed the characters to find closure, I couldn’t help but think about how much it changes what the story means to me. As someone with depression who used to have suicidal inclinations, this story was a great reminder that, regardless of the reasons, a suicide has a strong impact on the lives surrounding it. When the suicide was a fact of the story, it showed not only the devastation of the suicide on the family and friends, but it showed the extremely difficult grieving process. By switching the cause of death at the end, I feel robbed. It is no longer the story that relates to me, rather, it became the story that found closure through the truth of an accidental death. The impact is weakened and changed this book from a five to a four star book.
End Spoiler. PS. if it doesnt show up by highlighting, it will work via copy and paste.)