Thursday, 12 February 2015

Read :: I was Here by Gayle Forman

Cody and Meg were inseperable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until...they weren't anymore.

I was Here* by Gayle Forman is the story of Cody Reynolds, in the days, weeks and months following the suicide of her best friend, Meg.

When Meg drinks a bottle of industrial strength cleaner alone in a motel room, leaving behind a fifty dollar tip for the maid that finds her, her college room ready to be packed up, and a suicide note sent on delayed time to her friends and family, Cody has to come to terms with the truth that perhaps she didn't know her best friend as well as she thought she did. 

When Meg's parents ask Cody to pick up Meg's belongings from her College room, Cody begins a journey of discovery not only into why her friend took her own life, but also a journey of healing and grief.

This was the first Gayle Forman book that I read, and certainly won't be the last. In fact, as soon as I finished it, I paid a visit to Amazon to pick a few from her back catalogue.

The subject matter of I was Here is undoubtedly a serious one, but it is such an important one. Suicide, mental health (and in this case, that of teen suicide and teen mental health) needs to be talked about, and in society at large, the taboo surrounding these issues needs to be shaken off. Gayle Forman handles this sensitively and presents to the reader a very moving, and relatable story of mental health.

Gayle Forman is not afraid to present the issues of mental health at its bleakest. When Cody tries desperately to find out what drove her friend to suicide, the reader has a looking glass into how devastating suicide can be, from Meg herself, to her younger brother, to her closest friends, to her parents and even to those people who were mere acquaintances.

"Live fast, die young." Everyone romanticizes that notion, and I hate it. I saw a picture of Meg's body from the police report. There is absolutely nothing romantic about dying young

I was Here however, is not just a story about suicide and mental health. It is a story of friendship, of family, of human relationships, and of finding your way in the world. It is a story of moving on after the most devastating of events, and it is a story of redemption. For the hopeless romantic in me, I was also pleased to see that it was a story of love, with the mysterious, loyal and charasmatic, musician, Ben.

Cody and Meg's relationship is at the heart of the book. Although we never meet Meg in person (instead through her emails and a series of flashbacks), their relationship is believable, and when Cody finds out more and more about Meg's illness, the pain that Cody feels is raw.

The real skill in Gayle Forman's writing is her ability to portray characters completely spot on. Her characters are not perfect. They have flaws. They get angry, they get cross and they can be rude. Just like anybody. The people in I was Here are painted as real people, and not just a two-dimensional person on a page.

Perhaps my one criticism of I was Here was the plot became a little far-fetched. Cody discovers that Meg wrote on sucidie boards, and she thinks that someone might have encouraged her down the path that she took. Cody decides to try and 'lure' this person out and confront them as to why they did, what they did. This leads her driving across the country, with Ben in tow, to do so. I understand why Gayle Forman included this. It represents the closure and the path that Cody needed to take after her friend's death, and to some extent, does give her this, but I do wonder if they may have been another way to show this, as at times, it was questionable in a book that otherwise felt very real.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed I was Here and hats off to Gayle Forman. This is a sensitive and delicate portrayal of a sensitive and emotionally draining issue, and she brings it into the limelight wonderfully.

I was Here by Gayle Forman is available from Amazon.

I was Here was provided for review purposes. As  always, this does not shape my opinion in anyway shape or form.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

:: January in Pins

Looking back at my Pinterest boards from January, there was a lot of Spring and Summer inspired pins. But now that I am currently writing this, and it is snowing outside, I think it I will have to wait a while to put said pins into practice. So without further ado, here is a selection of my less, Spring-like pins.

1 :: flowers in paper

2 :: paschima namaskarasana

3 :: sweet dreams

4 :: plaits and wool

5 ::  painted mug

6 :: cup of tea

7 :: piled high cushions

8 :: wooden floors and red rugs

9 :: audrey

Bluebell & Bumpkin on Pinterest

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

this week's ten lovely things

This is a little late. I know why it was late, and whilst I certainly don't have deadlines for my blog, I am not happy with why I didn't hit publish on Sunday (please read - horrendous hangover. It's certainly not big and it's certainly not clever. Lessons have been learnt).

:: Practicising yoga with the window open. Freezing cold, yes, but good for the soul, undoubtedly.

:: Fresh jam doughnuts from the bakery on Saturday morning, whilst reading The Times and drinking tea. This is what Saturday's are made of.

:: The Six Nations begins. I much, much prefer The Six Nations to the Rugby World Cup. Every game matters, and every rivalry is intense. England won on Friday night with every point coming from the foot or the hands of a Bath player. Sometimes, life is very good.

:: The most delicious and most naughtiest of Big Macs on Friday before the Six Nations.  Bad for the wedding diet, yes, but undoubtedly good for the soul (just like yoga. Apparently)

:: Saturday night girls night with pizza, films and bubbles.The prelude to the Sunday unlovliness.

:: The arrival of our Sherlock armchair. We have ummed and ahhhed over this for a year, but we finally bit the bullet, and it is the comfort of kings.

:: Ordering little bits and pieces for the wedding, including the arrival of a very large easel, and some wooden crates. Watch this space...

:: A Saturday spent writing (all from the comfort of a certain armchair)

:: Saturday morning spent reading The Times with a cup of tea. As my friend said, how wonderfully middle class.

:: Snow on Tuesday morning. Just a small sprinkling, but for a moment, it was magical.

Monday, 9 February 2015

39 thoughts of a late twenty-something

1 :: This shit just got real. I am officially in my late twenties.

2 :: I can’t even say mid-to-late twenties. It is late twenties here on in.

3 :: But it’s fine, because apparently thirty is the new twenty.

4 :: Buzzfeed told me so.

5 :: You have everything together when you’re thirty.

6 :: I have time.

7 :: Loads of time. I’m completely chilled about being in my late twenties.

8 :: In fact, I love being in my late twenties.

9 :: Would I be twenty-one again? No siree.

10 :: Late twenties are where it’s at.

11 :: Really.

12 :: I mean, all that clubbing? All that fashion? No thanks.

13 :: Staying in on the sofa with a  bottle of wine is really what it’s all about.

14 :: With a takeaway if we’re really pushing the boat out.

15 :: No awkward dancing, not having to do anything at the weekends, not having to go out, not really understanding what YOLO means… late twenties are the bees knees.

16 :: If I want to stay in, and read all the books, I will.

17 :: Yes, I am a real, life grown-up. I even have limescale remover.

18 :: Yup, limescale remover over going out, is where it's at. 

19 :: Although, admittedly, when we do go out (and when I say ‘out’, I don’t mean out-out), the hangovers are worse.

20 :: Who knew two day hangovers were a real thing?

21 :: I wonder if when you get to thirty, you get three day hangovers? 

22 :: Ooh thirty. That’s soon. 

23 :: Why have I not got my shit together? 

24 :: I mean seriously. Jane Austen had written Pride and Prejudice by the time she was 23.

25 :: Good grief. 

26 :: Wait, wait, it’s fine. It wasn’t published until she was in her thirties. I have time.

27 :: WAIT. Mark Zuckerberg was HOW OLD when he invented Facebook?

28 :: God. Why didn’t we learn coding at school?

29 :: The most I did was a PowerPoint presentation on guinea pigs. He invented Facebook.

30 :: What I wouldn’t give to be twenty one again.

31 :: I’d invent something even better than Facebook.

32 :: Enter the Book of Face…!

33 :: I’ll just stop.

34 :: Is that really another grey hair?

35 :: Is this grey hair in a ‘Rogue from X-Men sort of way’ or in the other way?

36 :: Early twenty-somethings don’t have these problems.

37 :: But it’s fine, it really is. 

38 :: I love being a late-twenty something. I do sensible things now like drink water, and put the rubbish out.

39 :: Yup. YOLO.