I Was Here
Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
This novel grappled with a lot of dark themes, suicide, depression, grief and underlines all of that with undertones of friendship and family. This novel is a glimpse into the world of a girl named Cody who desperately struggles with grieving a best friend she didn’t know as well as she thought she did.
One of my least favourite things about the novel was the romance, while Gayle Forman’s books are always heavily based in love, I thought the book could have done without the relationship between Ben and Cody. It seemed a little misplaced given the circumstances. The romance was very brief and the writing implied that the relationship was intense and crippling but it came off as superficial. Because of the grief Cody was dealing with her love life seemed inconsequential in comparison. Furthermore the fact that Meg was involved with Ben before her death was never really dealt with which made me a little uncomfortable; there are some lines you just don’t cross.
However even amid the bad boy romance clichés Gayle Forman manages to bring depth to her novel. The novel made shivers race up at my spine because it was at once honest and eerie. The way Cody goes about uncovering some of the grittier aspects of her friend’s suicide was one of the reasons this book stood out compared to other books with a similar concept. Even so I felt like I was missing something crucial, I didn’t know Meg and I never got to know her. I felt very disconnected from Cody’s grief because I couldn’t grasp Meg’s character or their friendship. As a result this novel did not move me. I will admit that it was probably a more realistic portrayal of grief, it was messy and complicated and full of bad judgement calls, but even so I remained almost entirely unaffected with what was supposed to be a dark mournful novel.