Review: If I stay–Gayle Forman

January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

If I Stay-Gayle Forman
Narrated by – Kirsten Potter
 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 5 hour(s) and 2 min.
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks (April 23, 2009)
  • Language: English

Goodreads synopsis: What if you had everything:
A gorgeous boyfriend who was madly in love with you?
Quirky hip parents who totally got you?
A musical talent that could take you anywhere?
What if your biggest problem in life was choosing which path to take?
Follow your first love–music– to New York City?
Or stay with your boyfriend, friends, and family?
What if one day, you went out for a drive…
And in an instant everything changed?
What if suddenly all the other choices were gone?
Except for one–the only one that truly mattered?
What would you do?
A sophisticated, layered, and heart achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands. Summit Entertainment has rights to ‘If I Stay’ for the movie

I read a review on Bibliophile Brouhaha’s blog that made me want to immediately read If I Stay and I wasn’t disappointed. This audio was just over 5 hours long and I listened to it from start to finish in one sitting. There was no way I could stop without knowing what was going to happen, so I’m glad, for this reason, that it wasn’t a longer book. The narrator, Kirsten Potter, was wonderful, really expressing the emotional aspects in the book in a way that made you feel what she was saying.

I would describe this as a quietly powerful read, painful, haunting, bittersweet, and inspiring  We get to know Mia and her family through Mia’s memories as she hovers on the brink of life and death, trying to decide whether or not she she should stay. There are many reasons for her to decide either way, and I fully understood her confusion. Just the fact that she had to choose, that she found herself in this position, watching events from outside of her body, I can’t imagine how terrifying that would be. I felt fully involved in every step of Mia’s journey, although I didn’t shed many tears, only at the end and even then just a little.

I was surprised by how much depth each of the characters had even through such small glimpses into Mia’s life. I particularly loved her Grandpa and best friend Kim. There were several points where I laughed out loud, once when her little brother Teddy says something along the lines of “Next year, I’ll be 8, then I’ll be a man and you’ll have to call me Ted”  I loved the way the hospital was portrayed as well, it made me think of my nurse friends who always tell me that the nurses are the only ones who really know what’s going on in a hospital.

Mia’s family was engaging, funny, and lovingly attentive to each other. I wished that I had grown up with a family like that. Her father was a former rocker turned teacher with such charismatic self-deprecating humor. Her mother was a ballsy, strong and protective dynamo of a woman. And little brother Teddy was funny and adorable. Glimpsing their interactions through Mia’s memories really made me understand what made this decision so hard for Mia.

Gayle Forman packed a lot of heart into this short novel. I cannot wait to read the next one “Where She Went” which isn’t due to come out until April of 2011. My sincere thanks to Bibliophile Brouhaha for bringing this book to my attention with her wonderful open letter to the author  which is what made me decide to immediately grab this from Audible.

Of course I’ll be rating this a 5. This is another book that will stay with me long after I read it and that I highly recommend to all.

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