Book 16: I Was Here, Gayle Forman

Having read Gayle Forman’s books, I shoould say that this book is very different from the romantic stories of Mia and Adam [If I Stay, Where She Went], Willem and Lulu [Just One Day, Just One Year, Just One Night].

The fact that this book is about suicide is, of course, the main reason why I decided to read this book, among other reasons. I don’t know why, but I am so fond of trying to understand why some people have to come up with such a dead-end decision. And I sincerely believe that by reading some books about it, it may see a little light. So, I Was Here was written in Cody’s point of view, the best friend of the suicide victim, Meg (I’m not sure of victim is the right word, though). As she and Meg’s family grieves over their loss, she discovers hidden files in Meg’s computer insinuating that her decision of self-termination was influenced. Through Scottie’s (Meg’s younger brother) conclusion about Meg’s suicide note, Cody set out and tried to find the truth behind her best friend’s suicide.

If I was in Cody, I’d feel a bit betrayed. Meg is her best friend since kindergarten, and having grown up together, like sisters by blood, somehow, Cody’s entitled to know what’s going on with her. The Garcia’s (Meg’s family) however, opted to keep her from the truth. I bet she won’t know the truth if she didn’t decide to look for the person shw believed responsible for Meg’s suicide. But then, to look at it from Meg’s point of view, sometimes it’s hard to trust the people you love and value, because more often than not, they are the ones who kill your dream. It was clear that Meg needed help, but there were no signs observed, as far as Cody was concerned. Thing is, finding out that someone else might be responsible for Meg’s death gives her the ticket to deny herself of the hurt, pain and anger towards Meg for choosing to leave her for good. It’s always better to blame someone else.


The suicide forum heavily reminded me of By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead. It’s the very first suicide/bully book that I’ve read, which aroused my curiosity towards self-termination. Only this time, I Was Here focused on the people being left behind. If Meg knew what her family and Cody would feel, would she have done it? But of course, there’s no point in asking that, because in cases such as this, not only people are going to be left behind. There will be pain, anger, grief, confusion, regrets, questions, even that would never be answered. Self-termination is a decision with inevitable consequence that once done, there’s no turning back and self-redemption.

I Was Here didn’t disappoint me, and I felt restless as I turn every page. Did Meg really take her own life, or someone else did? What will Cody find out at the end of her quest? The emotions and the suspense were there. I felt Cody’s pain and grief. Another thrilling story of how one’s decision can affect even those who are the least concerned.


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