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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Review - Before I fall - Lauren Oliver



I had a hard time to pick this book up (completely out of my comfort zone!), I went into it however very easily and then swept through it in one go. That first step is the hardest actually (the picking it up).

Not an easy book for me to review. I felt it was fast paced at the beginning but I found it repetitious mid way. At the same time the book made me realise even more than before how
precious a life is and how we should live our lives because once its gone, its gone and nothing on earth would bring you back to rectify any wrongs you have done to others.

This part of the review which follows, would be strange to lots of people I know. I cannot believe that this is the normal behaviour of young teens in a school. This may be due to different cultures where respect for elders is paramount (though definitely dwindling) and respect for teachers is upheld every step of the way. The way Sam and her friends Lindsey, Elody and Ally behave towards their own school mates and to the teachers opened my eyes to such a different way of life that is frightening. The need to be popular will be always important for this age of children but to go to the extent of maintaining that, and to actually verbally abuse others to the extent that this lot do, horrified me. I cannot believe that this would be the norm. Please someone comment on this aspect.

Though Sam is the predominant character in the story, the others are equally important as this book is also about relationships. How relationships can be broken through careless talk, indifference and lack of communication. How Sam tries desperately to rectify the shortcomings she herself sees in herself is amazing. Even at this young age, she does see the difference very clearly between right and wrong. I liked this part of the book very much. It again reiterates what I said before - life is so very short. Live it well or as well as you can.

A strange book for me, but one which got me thinking.

17 comments:

stargazerpuj said...

I've always wondered about this extreme need of high school kids to be popular. All the movies take the same track - the meanness, the bullying, the extremely disturbing adult behaviour and it makes me quite sad.

Is it really the norm? Or an exaggeration of the worst-case scenario?

Mystica said...

That is exactly what I would like to know. Is this exaggerated or is it the norm?

I know we have a certain degree of problems - but it is still mainly about coming up to parental expectations or being like a sibling who is very clever. This kind of meanness for me is new so I would really like a few pointers as to what is normal.

Priya Parmar said...

i have picked up this book several times (as the cover is just hauntingly beautiful) but i keep putting down as i find the subject unnerving. i have been worried about the tenor of the book and am glad you came away with such a positive message. thank you for the lovely review!

bermudaonion said...

I'm sad to say that the book was probably an accurate portrayal of the way American kids act. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Mary said...

I haven't read the book but in answer to your questions, I think it's probably accurate to a degree. It is sad that the respect of elders, teachers seems to have declined. I don't read many books that fall under the YA genre but the ones I have seem to be repetitive. Why is that?

DCMetroreader said...

Sad to say, but the teen portrayal sounds pretty realistic

Laura Fabiani said...

I liked reading your review of this book because of your perspective coming from a different culture. It can be shocking and revealing what we can find out about other countries through books. Great review!

Book Dilettante said...

It happens that sometimes our freedom of speech is abused or misinterpreted, especially by young people in school. Thought provoking review.

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

After my Not-So-Bebe-Girl read Delirium, she really really wants this book. I explained to her that it was a totally different type of book, but she loves Oliver's writing style. Thanks for the review!

Blodeuedd said...

It certainly is not the norm here, but then that is an American school and here things might be different. I do wonder too

Kathleen said...

Sadly, the things depicted in the book seem to match the stories my teenage son as told me about what goes on at his school (and he's in a private Christian school). Your review was really nice and I enjoyed hearing a different cultural viewpoint. When I read the book I never thought about how it really depicts something that probably isn't recognized much outside the U.S (lucky for all of you outside the U.S).

Teacher/Learner said...

I haven't read this book yet but it sounds interesting. I'm sad to note that popularity is such a terribly important thing to young people (boys & girls) and has ruined many childhoods. Even some adults have this tendency of clinging to past glories or trying to sustain or gain them through social cliques. It's certainly a nasty, prevalent game, at least in North America.

Amused said...

I've seen this book around so much, it makes me feel like I'm the last person to read it. I need to be able to join in the discussion :)

Beverly said...

Thanks for stopping by The Wormhole! Have a great week. Happy reading!

Teddyree said...

Not quite the 'norm' in Australia either. I enjoyed this one but had issues similar to yours and then found the review too difficult to write so ... I didn't! You captured my feelings really well ... great review!

Anna said...

There's a reason why I never want to revisit high school and therefore read very few young adult novels! It's interesting to see how cultural differences play into one's interpretation of a book.

I just took this book out of the library and hope to get to it before it's due back.

Karen said...

I've had this one sitting on my shelf for awhile and just haven't picked it up yet. I'm still unsure of whether I want to read it or not. Great review.