fulfilling my 2019 goal to read (at least) one book each month that has been digitally moldering, unread, on my NOOK for years and years and years.
one of the benefits of letting a book ripen on your NOOK for years and years and years is that you forget what the book is about and why you wanted to read it in the first place. you just know that february is a short month and you’ve set this NOOK-goal for yourself and as you find yourself getting closer to the end of the month, you panic and decide to read the first YA book you see because at least you know it will be fast.
all you really remember is that this is supposed to be sad, and it is immediately clear it’s gonna have suicide themes, but you shrug, knowing that books just don’t make you cry, ever, and your life has been more affected by suicide than many people’s, so no damn book is gonna push you over the edge into weepytown because that earth is scorched, son. and you were right. none of the suicide stuff comes close to making you cry.
but that one page, towards the end? yeah, that broke through your defenses, causing some sustained eyeleak on the 7 train. and you loved feeling like an empathic reader for once.
this book’s a few years old, and there are some hints to the book’s tricks in the comparisons made by other reviews and the book’s own synopsis. but some of us didn’t bother to (re)read any of those before diving into this book, and weeeeeee were completely caught off-guard once that blindfold was lifted. and it was awesome.
to switch pronouns ONE MORE TIME, that turn happened while i was crossing the street, reading this, and i fullstopped directly in the middle of queens boulevard and said “ohhhhhhhhhhhh DAMN!”
that complete “didn’t see it coming” shock is as delightful to me as a book that makes me cry, although it is much less rare. i’m not sure there has been a book, before now, that has done both to me. no spoilers from me, just genuine pleasure at what i thought was gonna be a throwaway read just to meet my goals and instead turned out to be a magnificent heartpunching story.
this book is the chinese water torture* of sad and eventually, it will break you down.
and you will love it.
*unless that’s one of those things we don’t say anymore? in which case, replace with some imaginary game called “sad, sadder, saddest.”
yes, friends, there were tears. even a shriveled old heart like mine can still sometimes feel.
review to come.