Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I'll be honest about my thoughts on If I Stay by Gayle Forman. The first few pages captured my interest easily. The story is about a happy family of four. The parents are both into rock while their 17 year old daughter is into classical music. They play electric guitars and drums. She plays the cello. It's a very easy and enjoyable read until the accident. I like how it is abrupt and in a sense, gory, not because of the emotions that come with it, but because of its realness. That's how life is, right? Problems, accidents, or trials strike us at the most unexpected way and at the most unthinkable severity.

As for the plot after that, it is kind of boring. BUT BEFORE YOU CLOSE THIS WINDOW AND RETURN YOUR COPY OF IF I STAY TO YOUR BOOKSHELFyou may want to finish reading this first. I say boring because the plot is just the usual patient visitations in the hospital and flashbacks in between. Other than that, you'll just have to read through it and enjoy the book as it is. When you reach the final page, you'll understand why the author chose to write it simply that way. The book feels raw. There are no baggages of what we call "artificiality or pretentiousness". It's so raw that you can feel and see the reality behind it. You see them as the persons they are and not just another fictional character.

I think the book isn't a story about death at all. It's not about whether you choose to live or die. It's about your choice after we lose everything we love. There may come a time that we'll lose (I'm not saying we will) everything we have. It may be our everything we hold so dear. And when that time comes, what will our choice be? Are we going to stay yet so lifeless?  Are we going to dwell on the things we lost? Or are we going to face the pain with courage, accept it, and eventually allow ourselves to see the possibility that great things await us?

You could ask yourself the same thing while reading the book. It seems to be open-ended, but if you read closely, Mia answered these questions. May her answer help you find yours. :) 


Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: April 6, 2010
Publisher: Speak
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 243
Type: 2-book series
Bookshelves: Contemporary YA
Read: December 24 - 26, 2013
Links: Goodreads 
 Rating: Description:

laurice-with-love ♥

Find this review on Goodreads!

Commentary on Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

As a disclaimer to this blog entry, here's an excerpt from the Introduction of Orson Scott Card's most celebrated novel: Ender's Game.


You could disagree with me, but I believe that what you'v
e just read is a quality of a really good author. Good authors don't just tell good stories; they don't just tell "their" stories. They write stories that can speak personally to each of their readers; stories that their readers can own; stories that the author and reader can share; and these stories are what they both created in their minds and memory.

For this review, I would like to remind you that this is how Orson Scott Card and I painted Ender's Game in our minds and memory. It might be different for you, but I hope you find this review amusing because for me..

Ender's Game is really disturbing. I felt vulnerable while reading it. You know the feeling when you read a text and say, "Ha! I'm not that kind of person. Of course I'm not! I?" You're scared of your answer, but still you tear through your own guard and search yourself. Not just search, but see through the very core of your thoughts, principles, and actions.

That's how I felt in Ender's Game. It is, as I said, disturbing. Not in a bad way, though. I like how it brings out the need for you to analyze yourself and the circumstances that you cannot control. And ask, "How am I going to act? How am I going to respond?"

 If you think about it, the questions and issues the author poses are actually simple. It's too simple that we overlook some of it in reality. Why? I don't know. Maybe because these are the issues that are simple, but hard to deal with.

There are two issues that had me questioning for days. One is the issue on friendship. It is simple, but it is relevant to all. In the book, teachers isolated Ender to shape his mindset into thinking that he needs to excel on his own because he won't get help from anybody. But he still gained friends despite his isolation. However his teachers made them compete against each other. This made Ender feel he lost his friends. While reading these chapters in Battle School, I kept asking myself:
When does friendship end once competition begins?
Does true friendship end in competition?
Or better yet,
What is friendship?

The second issue that bothered me the most is Ender's struggle with himself. It touches on issues like man's double standards of morality and dualism. Throughout the years Ender was haunted by his wrongdoings. He hates himself for having so much blood on his hands. He hates the fact that he knew that what he's doing is wrong and yet he did it still. Disturbing enough? Yes, but I like how Orson Scott Card made Ender vulnerable to all his readers. It felt like he's naked to the very core of his being and it showed truth about human beings. That we also make mistakes and deal with our personal struggles. That we are also haunted, in one way or another by our past. 

I also like how the author set Ender against circumstances that he cannot control--circumstances that sometimes pushed him to make mistakes. Should Ender blame these circumstances? Should we blame the circumstances that shaped us for what we've done? What should we do? Is there hope for us--for people who've done unforgivable things? I leave Orson Scott Card to answer that.

I'm not saying that the novel is free of errors. I found some that I disagree with. There's a lot more issues to talk about, but it'll take me forever to finish it. :) Double standards of morality of I.F., Colonel Graff, or Mazer Rackham. Ethics. Politics. Leadership. Childhood. Siblings. Family.

Overall, I would love to leave this passage from 1 Timothy 4:12. I think this is the heart of the book.
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, 
but set an example for the believers 
in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."

To all the children, to the youth, to the young at heart...
...Go. Share your passion and creativity to the world. Let your zealousness make a difference.

P.S. Thanks to this cool blonde photographer for giving me this book! :D 
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