I am glad to have been able to squeeze in finishing this book amidst my writing woes (yeah, I am a drama queen). Despite its depressing theme, When Reason Breaks is another masterpiece that will make us understand somehow what it is like to be in the situation where there are limited options available. I have read books about suicide, and it is heartbreaking to realize that most of them are young adult reads, meaning most of those who give thoughts about self-termination are the young ones.
A bit of a background. Emily Delgado is the daughter of a lawyer/politician – a girl who doesn’t dare taint the family’s reputation and put a toe out of the line by being caught drinking, or smoking, even kissing her boyfriend in public. After being caught drinking illegally and the pictures uploaded in social media for public viewing, her dad made it sure that kind of public scandal won’t happen again. Elizabeth Davis, on the other hand is a product of broken family who cannot control her anger. The tragedy that stuck her family broke her heart that she can’t quite get over it, and every time she’s reminded of what happened, she becomes violent and ending up hurting people physically.
The blurb said that these two girls have nothing in common, but I don’t agree with it. Sure, Emily is a rich kid, while Elizabeth’s family’s struggling a bit financially, but both of them are troubled teenagers. The attention that Emily gets from her dad is too much it suffocates her, and not letting her enjoy her teenage life. Elizabeth mom, being busy providing for the family, [and maybe busy trying to cope with her own heartbreak] pays little attention to her, causing her to do things that would definitely catch even the slightest attention.
Must be the poems. I am not a big fan of poetry, and though sometimes I try to write some, I know I don’t have the “depth” that real poets normally have. I know Emily Dickinson though, having heard about her in my English classes before, but it never occurred to me that her works are mostly about death and suicide. I feel so eerily disturbed when the book mentions that Ms. Diaz, the English teacher loves her works. The teacher obviously knows the hidden theme of Dickinson’s works, so why is she so fond with them? There is something murky about this woman, as the book mentions that someone close to her died and she had a hard time getting over what happened. Did that someone commit suicide? She should have been more careful introducing this kind of literature to her students (or maybe Elizabeth is really sharp enough), evidently because of what happened.
Questions…questions… The ending was not dissatisfying, but I was not satisfied either, because I was left with questions. Ms. Diaz, having taught these kids, and having been with them for a long time, wasn’t able to recognize right away who was writing her all year. I mean, come on! She should be able to know her student’s style right? I think her being a teacher, having mistaken a student for another is a mortal sin. I was also looking for the reaction of Emily’s dad after what happened. Was he angry? Or was he able to reflect that he was way too tight with his kids, and he realized somehow that it’s kids nature to screw up? What about Kevin, Emily’s boyfriend? Did they continue seeing other after the tragedy?
Recommendation: When Reason Breaks is a bit more depressing compared to other suicide-themed books. So if you are currently going through some sort of an emotional upheaval, then it is best to settle for lighter reads.