My third review for my DA on Gayle Forman’s ‘If I Stay’, it’s a little bit rushed itself, but let me know what you think in the comments below and please feel free to mention any books you would like me to review in the coming future.
‘After reading this book recently I felt the need to make a review on this novel and express why I gave it a four instead of a five. (SPOILER ALERT)
‘If I Stay’ is about the difficult choice between life and death as we follow the story of Mia- a teenage cellist who is almost leaving high school and contemplating going to Julliard to study music further. At the beginning, Mia is involved in a terrible car accident which immediately kills both her parents and later causes the death of her younger brother, Teddy. Mia, however, is not killed but rather roams the hospital her comatose body is placed in as a ‘semi-ghost’ (in the book she tries to walk through a wall, believing that ghosts can actually do that, but fails and later wonders if she is dead or alive). Throughout the story, Mia reflects on her past memories with her family, friends and boyfriend Adam as she decides whether or not to or choose death and join her family or choose to live and stay.
I am really fascinated with the whole ‘out-of-body’ experience; Forman really captures the dilemma Mia has over whether she should stay with her friends or leave because of how miserable her life will be if she does stay. This is really captured in her flashbacks to important memories in Mia’s life, involving moments like her first kiss with Adam, when her brother Teddy was born and so forth.
Although the flashbacks were iconic in learning more about Mia’s life and her dilemma’s over staying or leaving, I felt that each flashback was a little bit rushed and not much ‘action’ occurs other than that of the beginning with the car accident which drives the whole story forward. I also felt that Mia seems to be leaning towards life throughout the entirety of the novel- with a lot of focus on Adam. I understand this was because of her love for him, but it made it seem clear she would ultimately choose life in the end because she focuses on nothing else. Where some moments occurring in the world around her comatose body did have some focus to her family arriving or her best friend’s mother crying, her flashbacks- as the true reasoning behind her decision -felt more centred around Adam himself.
Other than Mia, no other character development is truly undertaken- there are only snippets of her family (which is fair enough seeing as they’re only viewed in flashbacks) which made it difficult to really connect with Mia’s loss as we are left in the dark about who her family actually is. Even Adam was slightly portrayed in a rushed manner- at the end of the novel I was still in the dark over who Adam was … and Mia chose to live because of him playing a song for her, which if it was me would seem similar to a random stranger singing to me because all I know of him is he likes Mia and music.
Other than this, ‘If I Stay’ was very moving as some connection was made between me and Mia as she contemplates the biggest decision of her life. Also, Forman ending with simply Adam saying Mia’s name was highly effective in leaving her story to the imagination of the reader.