Books | Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver / Charley Lucy

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Books | Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


I put this book - Kindle - down about two minutes ago (after I dried my eyes) and immediately set to writing this blog post, so apologies if it's some form of verbal diarrhea, but you know when you read something and you just have to talk to someone about it. Well, I'm doing that, and that person is you. This book. It's been on my to-read list for so very long and I just haven't had the time to sit and read it. Sad really, since it took me less than two days to finish, once you got into it this book was absorbing.

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In short, the synopsis (as per a spoiler free as I can make it): Popular, self-involved teen dies in a car accident one dark and stormy night - classic - and ends up reliving her last day seven times. It's a weird concept that doesn't delve too much into religion or the supernatural and takes a matter-of-fact just happen to be reliving the same day over and over again approach, which is minimalist and refreshing.


The characters: Sam - the main character - to start with I thought she was vapid and shallow along with her fellow troupe of besties. But what can I say? I've never been much of a follower when it comes to friends or trends and I've never been particularly popular. It's exactly what Oliver's trying to achieve. This book embodies the power struggle of high school from an unusual perspective - that of the elite (unless maybe I'm just drawn to books with downtrodden heroines?). And just how, and if a person can change. It's relateable for any teenage, or in my case not-so-teenage girls and imparts some valuable life lessons on the way about how to treat others, what living really is and letting go.

DO NOT CROSS THIS LINE IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK (sorry!)

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In my last review I tried to keep things squeaky clean when it came to spoilers, but it makes for a poor review. Besides, this is really what I want to talk about. The ending. After living through her last day seven times, each time changing it for better or for worse and learning some life-altering lesson, Sam lives her last day. The circumstances may be different but the outcome is the same, Sam dies.

Being the look-on-the-bright-side individual that I am I though this ending kind of sucked and was beautiful at the same time for a number of reasons. 1) That girl worked hard at becoming a better person and no one really gets to see it, she goes out on a bang and people (like Anna) just think she's weird as hell and possibly psychic. I suppose that's life. 2) Kent. OH MY GOD. Yes, you may have just had your light switched on to real human feelings, but that poor, poor boy. You kissed him only to basically kill yourself a matter of hours later - selfish much? You had the memories of kissing him, wasn't that enough? 3) Juliet was going to kill herself anyway, you sacrificing yourself may not have even saved her life. In fact, she's probably more inclined to feel guilty and kill herself anyway. 4) It was awful that Marian would grow up without Juliet as a sister - but what about Izzy? 5) Karma may be a bitch - but where was Lindsey's fair share? It seems to me that she was the ringleader in all this. I'd like to see her just desserts. 6) Could you have not just ended the book when everything went black so I could have at least pretended she was alive?

This does sound like I'm hating on the book and, I kind of am. The ending was painful and right and people were hurt, but that's the appeal and I guess that's what's making me sit here and think about it. Not all books have shiny happy endings and it's often the least perfect that we remember.


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