Thursday, November 24, 2011

Before I DieBefore I Die by Jenny Downham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Books where people die are very hard for me to read about. But those are also the ones that touch me the most.

Tessa has cancer. She has been fighting cancer for the past 4 years, and now only has months to live. She wants to make the most of the time she has, and so she makes a "Before I Die" list, a list of all the things she wants to do before she dies.

What would you do? I for one, would probably want to spend all my time with loved ones, although I don’t think you can assume what a person would want in such a time unless it’s actually happening (God forbid).

Tessa doesn’t play a weepy, whiny character who thinks the world should revolve around her since she’s about to die. In fact, she’s kind of a bitch. She’s blunt, honest, knows what she wants and does anything possible to get it, because, well, life is short. First up is sex, then drugs, shoplifting, fame, love, etc.

So you all know what will happen in the end. She’ll die. The end, right? What you don’t know is that it’ll break your heart along the way. There are quite a few heartbreaking quotes, but this one touched me the most:

Tessa’s words to her dad: ‘No, then you’ll die. Before me. The way it’s supposed to be.’

Whenever I hear of a child dying anywhere in the world, it always hurts. It’s so sad to think of someone dying before they get to see how wonderful life could be, had they had the time to enjoy it. Tessa tries her best to enjoy whatever time is left. But there’s only so much you can do. She can’t finish school, she can never go to university, so many things that normal teenagers look forward to. She’s just not given a chance. That’s the worst part. When reading, and growing to know Tessa better and liking her, you realize that there’s nothing you can do for her. You’re not going to get a happy ending.

...and live.

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  1. I loved this book, I really liked the authors writing style; it was almost poetic to me. Great review.

  2. Thank you! And yes, the author's writing is just lovely!