Thursday, 6 October 2011
BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
Despite being so extremely young as I am, I don't tend to read much Young Adult fiction. I don't generally get the point of it. However, for some reason I decided to give Lauren Oliver's BEFORE I FALL a whirl, and I'm glad I did.
The book opens with a very detailed account of one day - February 12 - in the life of a popular high school girl, Sam. Sam goes to school, and then to a party, and each place and all its events are minutely described. This focus on one day confused me at first, in fact till the next morning, when Sam wakes up to find that it is still February 12, and she has to live the day over again in every particular.
Oh dear, I thought. How on earth is this author going to make Groundhog Day work? Shall I give up on this book now?
Thing is, it's not really Groundhog Day. At the end of the first February 12, Sam is in a car crash, and it becomes increasingly clear that she is in fact dead. The makes the book more interesting, but also more complicated, as there is apparently therefore nothing for her to work towards. She can't be saved. Or can she?
We begin to realise that she is being given the day again and again so that she can learn to appreciate that day. She learns to love that ordinary day, and thus in some way, to love her ordinary life. She learns to appreciate skipping breakfast, and her sister running out with her gloves, and driving with her best friend.
BEFORE I FALL is based around that lesson that's so incredibly hard to learn, about learning to love what you've got.
I didn't want to, but I found this book curiously touching.