Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book #40: You Are Not Here

Title: You Are Not Here

Author: Samantha Schutz

Date started reading: March 21, 2012
Date finished reading:  March 21, 2012

Publish date: October 2010
ISBN: 978-0545169110
Number of pages: 224

Official summary: "Annaleah and Brian had something special — Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn’t need anyone else. It didn’t matter that it was secret. All that mattered was what they shared. And then, suddenly, Brian dies. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living on the outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss no one will let you have?" (http://samanthaschutz.net)

How I obtained the book: Bought for $1 at Friends of the Library charity booksale

My commentary:
  • I first learned about Samantha Schutz when I discovered her first book "I Don't Want to be Crazy" in a local bookstore. That book is a memoir about her life... of growing up, breaking down, and coming to grips with a psychological disorder. She wrote the book in the form of poetry. It was a very interesting take on doing a memoir. I started following her through social media and followed the progress of her trying to get "You Are Not Here" published. It is also written in poetry form, but this is a fictional story and not a memoir. I was very happy to finally come across this book for a cheap price (if it was another memoir, I would've paid full price, but with a fictional story, I hadn't originally been too intent on reading it)
  • I love the cover Schutz ended up picking. I remember reading her blog as the cover was being decided on. The dried-up roses are beautiful but show the feeling of grief well. I think the right choice was made
  • I wonder how you even sell a publisher on a book like this... "I would really like to write a book that is 200+ pages of continuous free-form poetry" ... That seems like a hard sell to me. With the first book, it made sense because it was based around her own mental illness, and when you're having a mental breakdown, your thoughts are short and choppy and often random. I didn't think a fictional book would work the same way, but in the end it does. The short choppy writing actually works extremely well. It does a great job putting the reader into the mindset of a young girl who suddenly loses her first love (or really anyone who suddenly loses someone they love) and is in utter shock

Memorable quotes (I'm typing the quotes in the poetry form in which they appear in the book):
  • "Brian was healthy.
    Just finished his junior year.
    How could he be playing
    basketball one minute
    and then be dead the next?
    How could there be no in-between?
    No treatment.
    No drugs.
    No surgery.
    No hope.
    No nothing.
    Not possible."
  • "How can a person be
    filled with life
    and then be empty?
    Where does it all go?"
  • "I wonder
    how many people
    are walking around
    with something silent
    and terribly wrong inside them.
    Our bodies are so complex.
    So many opportunities
    for something to go wrong --
    it's amazing that people
    aren't dropping dead
    on the streets all day long."
  • "That afternoon, our conversation
    was like an epic road trip --
    but with no map to guide us
    and all the time in the world
    to get where we were going.
    We meandered, lost our way,
    doubled back."
  • "The shower is a good place to hide.
    No one can see your tears,
    not even you."
  • "It's never fun
    to be realistic."
  • "When the memory fades,
    so does my smile.
    I am alone."
  • "I'm trying to decide what is worse.
    Someone being gone,
    but still out there,
    or someone being gone forever,
    I think someone being gone,
    but still out there, might be worse.
    Then there's always the chance,
    the hoping,
    the wondering
    if things might change.
    If maybe one day he'll come back.
    There's also the wondering about
    what his new life is like.
    The life without you.
    Is he happier?
    And if he is,
    you're left being sad,
    wondering what it would be like
    if you were happy with him.

    But when someone is dead,
    he's dead.
    He's not coming back.
    There is no second chance.
    Death is a period
    at the end of a sentence.

    Someone gone, but still out there,
    is an ellipsis...or a question
    to be answered."
  • "My heart is empty.
    But my brain --
    My brain is full.
    It races with thoughts
    of what could have been."

Buy on Amazon.com: You Are Not Here

1 comment:

  1. These quotes... I can feel her words on my own flesh. I'm going through something like this since the begining of the last year. She's gone, but still out there...

    My congrats for your blog,
    @rapha_tm =)