Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Review: If I Stay

I know I looked at the front fly leaf of this book back when it first came out. I heard all the hub-bub. I knew it was supposedly YA gold. Yet, I didn't choose to read it. Then, a few weeks back, I saw the movie available and decided to watch it. Oh my! Had I known what a tear-jerker If I Stay would be, I might not have started watching. I sobbed. I loved the movie.

So, I decided to give the book a shot, even though I generally hate to see a movie first and then approach the book. In the final analysis, I liked the movie more than the book. The premise goes against what I believe to be true about life and death. The main character argues several times that it is her choice to decide to stay or not. "It's not up to the doctors. It's not up to the absentee angels. It's not even up to God who, if He exists is nowhere around right now. It's up to me." This cutting God out of the equation is what doesn't sit well with me. I found myself thinking about children with terminal cancer and what this type of message does to them. Things are not within our control. It is a damaging illusion to paint for young people, this idea that they are masters of their universe.

Moreover, I felt annoyed with the portrayal of the hip parents who take their daughter to Planned Parenthood because they're perfectly okay with her having under-age sex. The parents who were too cool and had to tone things down once they had children and felt a sense of responsibility. It just didn't sit well with me.

So, while I liked the story line and loved the main character's voice, I felt once again this was YA literature meant to glorify rebellion and self-absorption. The story was executed well. The writing was emotionally resonant. I just didn't fall for the main theme. Thankfully, it was a quick and easy read. I did check out the sequel, too. Haven't decided yet whether to give it a shot or not.

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