Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

*Spoiler Alert*
The following review may contain unwanted information for those who have not yet read the book.
It's been three years since Mia Hall was in the devasting and tragic accident found in If I Stay. Mia went on to Julliard and is living in New York City while Adam's band has done remarkably well and he is an official "rock star" with all the less-than-desirable encumbrances. Adam isn't handling them very well, in fact he hasn't handled life well at all since Mia left. Where She Went tells the story of Adam finding Mia by chance in New York while he is there with his band, of them haltingly reconnecting and then finding understanding.

What I liked about the book: I liked the symmetry of the two novels, that the first is in Mia's voice, the second in Adam's, that what happened to break them apart and how Adam handled things in the ensuing years is told little by little just as Mia's story was, that each becomes the other's savior in a way. I think that the author is really good at letting us get inside their heads so that they feel like real people even when they act in a way I would never act. I think that their emotions are very real.  I enjoyed reading the books within a week or two of each other.  If there had been a lot of time between I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much.

What I didn't like:  I really really didn't like Adam at all through much of the book.  I thought that he had many of the worst characteristics that seem to be somewhat common to celebrities, such as his whiny and petulant behavior, his extreme absorption with himself, his violent outbursts, his pill-popping, his inability to get along with his bandmates, and even his cigarette smoking, all of which seemed to portray someone with disdain for others.  He seemed so angry and angsty and just didn't seem to care about anyone, most especially himself.  It wasn't until at least 2/3's of the way through the book that I started to like him again, when I understood why he was so angry, that he had given so much to Mia only to have her turn her back on him for what seemed to him to be no reason.  He had needed to grieve for the loss of Mia's family, and then for the loss of Mia, without anyone to help him through it and then was thrust into the spotlight with his band's meteoric rise.  Being recognized and mobbed by fans and paparazzi, being misaligned in the gossip magazines, hounded by the media, and having jealous bandmates, was all too much for someone who had yet to heal from tragic loss.

Was it clean?  No, not at all.  Many many f-words, and Adam's sleeping around with groupies, definitely keep it from being considered clean.  I understand that many celebrities speak and act that way but to me it is a distraction and it  kept me from enjoying it as much as I would have if the language was cleaner.

*Book courtesy of the public library.  Check it out!

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