Friday, August 5, 2011

Lost Opportunities and The Books That Break Your Heart

These two topics sort of feed into each other which is why I'm tying them together. While the books are varied, as you will see, a very clear message rang through them. They have something in common which I feel is important and is most likely what drew me to them in the first place. That, and I posted a comment on my Facebook page to which I got some good feedback as far as this being something that a lot of people actually would do or change if they could. Sometimes a little awareness is all you need.

You see, these books are about courage, in a sense. About not holding back from the ones you love or care about. They're about pushing fear, judgement, and embarrassment aside and just saying what needs to be said to the people you care about. One statement can change everything. One word, one phrase, one explanation. Don't let an opportunity pass you by where you can tell the people you care about just that  - that you care about them. You might never have that chance again and that is a true tragedy. These books are reminders that if you have passed that chance by thus far, as long as that person is still here, you can still reach out to them. If there are things that you want to change, fix, apologize for or express, do it.

I see it like this: If they were to die tomorrow would you have any regrets for things left unsaid to them?

You would never have another chance, not in this lifetime, and depending on what you believe that could mean that this was your only opportunity, ever.  Since I've actually experienced this type of regret with no way to change it, I can tell you how awful that feels firsthand. Life, and death, I should say, sneak up on you and in that one split second of time the unchangeable is done.

I'm trying to work on this myself. It takes a lot of effort, time, and hope. There is always hope. Sometimes I think I should just give up, especially with those I haven't spoken with in so long, but then I read something like this and it pushes me on. That's the way I'm looking at all of this - as a reminder to reach out to the important people in your life because maybe they don't know.

Maybe time and dust have settled into silences where words have been left unspoken. But that can be changed. A little courage and trust in the other person, or just trust in that it's the right thing to do, makes all the difference.

On top of  all of that remember this: Your words, whatever they may be,  may be the exact thing they needed to hear. It might make all the difference in the world to them. It might be the difference between regrets and new light in their life. They might have been wanting to do the exact same thing but were too scared of the outcome. In my personal account of this I must say that so far it's been awesome, so far it's been the exact right thing to do, but I have some work left to do.

To everyone reading this post, know this: You are important to me. I mean that with every little piece of my heart. Maybe I know you, maybe I don't, but you are important none the less.

Alrighty, on to the books!

If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman

There are books I enjoy reading and owning and then there are books I fall in love with. These would be the latter.

The first book is told by Mia, set through her eyes as her life is rapidly changing and decisions have to be made. The second book is told by Adam, her former boyfriend who lost her after she lost everything. The two stories fit together perfectly and are told with such emotion that you feel as if you're right there, as if you are one of the characters experiencing everything. The second book was my very favorite of the two. I had no idea what was going to happen and I was certain I would either be devastated and crying or happy and cheering. Never have I wanted to jump in a book and hug someone quite as much as I did with Adam. His story just broke my heart while still being so beautiful and meaningful.

As mentioned above, it is indeed one of those reads that makes you want to go out and tell everyone how important they are to you because not taking that chance or having that courage, or just not being that honest with how you feel in general, could be a painful regret. While it can be a stand-alone read, it's good to have all the puzzle pieces together.

The following are taken from the websites link, above. I really couldn't summarize it any better and don't even want to try.

If I Stay
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck... A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Where She Went

It's been three years since the devastating accident... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay,Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.


I've been hearing about this book everywhere by everyone for a very long time now, so I had to read it. It's an international best seller and is renowned for it's work in helping teens with thoughts of suicide. While it sounds very depressing, it's not. It's eye opening. It's a look at how even little things you do can make a huge impact. I think it's one of the best reminders ever that being mindful of what you do is the best way to do anything. Right after I read this a friend told me someone she knew had just committed suicide and that she could really use a book like this to understand why.

Truth be told, I was unsure about book reviewing this with you because of how sad it can be, but that's when I knew I had to let other people know about it too. Sad things like this happen all the time, unfortunately, but that is life and we can only live it or make it better if we try. I do hope it helps in whatever way it can.

It's told through the tape recordings of Hannah Baker and the listener of those, Clay Jensen. Hannah has committed suicide for thirteen specific reasons and in her absence she has left behind her story, in a most unusual way.  Clay, who had feelings for Hannah but never told her, has to listen to it to find out why he made the list. Below is a brief summary taken from the link above.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

What books do you love? I need some new ones to read!

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