There are some books that take some time, pages, even chapters to get hooked on to.
Others though, they get you with the opening line
“The day after Meg died, I received this letter –
I regret to inform you that I have had to take my own life. This decision has been a long time coming, and was mine alone to make.”
And so begins Gayle Forman’s “I was here”
The story focuses on Cody, an eighteen year old who lost her close best friend, and the journey to discover the reasons why her steadfast, seemingly all together best friend since childhood, Meg, could have ever done that, and she feels guilty of thinking she had known everything about Meg, which in fact wasn’t true.
While cleaning out Meg’s college apartment after her parents request, she found her laptop and comes across encrypted files, which gave a shooting start to her obsession to find the truth and as well as alleviate her feelings of guilt.
“How can you not know that about your best friend? Even if she doesn’t tell you, how can you not?”
Cody discovers through this that even the closest best friends have a window of secrets between them, however inseperatable you think you may be.
During her search, she finds Ben McAllister, a musician with past connection with Meg, and Cody initially blamed him for her besties suicide, which made each other regard with a mix of caution and anger. However as more and more she gets to learn about Meg’s suicide, tempted by some suicide “support” group, their feelings get deeper and two come to trust each other.
As readers, we can depict a clear image of Cody’s conflicts: the guilt and anger she feels regards best friends decision, the feelings she denies herself for Ben, gives a realistic look for Cody. Cody may not be a perfect character but that’s exactly what makes her well-written.
The story wasn’t about Meg, it was about Cody, how she got over the guilt and anger, the realisations of what could have been done to stop it, and the acceptance that when one makes that decision, it is a decision made alone.
Although I wanted to know a bit more about Meg – why was she so important to Cody, flashbacks etc. – it is what gives the story a mysterious glow.
The heart of the story was not a love story, the ultimate heart of the story, the thing that made me turn pages with anticipation, was the closure that Cody desperately wanted. It’s not just her finding a mysterious case. It’s about a journey to find herself and who she is beyond the girl she once was.
“Life can be hard and beautiful and messy, but hopefully, it will be long”
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