Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review - By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead

By the Time You Read This, I'll Be DeadBy the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book about Daelyn Rice typifies all the victims in the jungle that is the American school. I felt for her, bled for her, and int he end stayed up until well after midnight to finish this book and find out what happens to her as the calendar winds down on the last 23 days of her life. She has failed at suicide numerous times in the past, this time she intends to succeed with the help pf a suicide website. The book takes us through the atrocities (and I don't use that word lightly) committed against her over the years for the sin of being overweight and carrying that invisible "victim" sign that bullies know so well.

I don't choose friends. Which works out great because they don't choose me.

Those are Daelyn's words. She sees no sign that life gets better and hates that the suicide website dictates that she must wait at least 23 days before she can kill herself. In the meantime she's out to sever all connections with the world. But even the act of resurrecting the horrible memories from her past forges bonds with this life. The website forces her to answer questions about herself, her life, and life after she is gone. A geeky neighbor in his own battle for life and the school's new fat-girl victim leave her asking questions of her own.

As the calendar approached her final days I could not put the book down. This is about the bullicide and the victims of bullies. How kids can be driven to believe there is nothing for them except a future of continued torment, why they believe friends and family will be happier once they are gone, and why platitudes do more harm than good. The big problem I had was her near clueless parents. Daelyn can't talk and her food has to be pureed before she can get it down a throat damaged by her last suicide attempt, and she has scars on her wrists from previous tries. Her parents have her own suicide watch and seeing a therapist. Still, they don't seem to have any clue of what her life has really been like. But they are so busy giving her space they never come close to seeing the trauma she dealing with. I can understand her thinking that its her survival that troubles them and once she's dead they will be content.

Needless to say I could not stop reading until that last page.

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