I Was Here
When her best friend, Meg, drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
My ThoughtsI Was Here is a deep, dark journey on the path of grief. Cody lost her best friend, Meg, and she has no explanation for why Meg decided to commit suicide. After finding something suspicious on Meg's laptop, Cody dives into a suicide mystery that takes her into the abyss of her soul.
I won’t dive deeper into my thoughts on Cody's journey because spoilers, but I do want to say that I cried at the end. There was a moment that Cody’s mom played a pivotal role, and it just reminded me so much of something my parents did for me once. The scene struck a chord with me, which reminded me that Forman’s writing is realistic. Suicide is a hard topic to tackle, yet Forman writes about its aftermath without romanticizing or justifying the act itself. She tackles it head-on, managing to be honest without being upsetting.
Then there’s Ben. I like Ben. A lot. He’s layered (as are all of Forman’s characters) and imperfect. He’s troubled in his own right, and affected by Meg’s death as he was one of her friends from her first semester of college. When Cody goes to Meg's college to collect her belongings, she meets Ben. They can’t seem to interact without sarcasm or yelling or general disdain but grief will do that to people. Yet, Cody and Ben keep meeting up, and they start getting to know one another as Cody explores the circumstances of Meg's death.
As I read the last page of I Was Here, I was struck by the novel’s poignancy, its strength and the resounding hope. I’m baffled by and thankful for its truth. It ended with hope and tears, which is how the best books end.
My #IWasHere MomentI’ve been some places. I haven’t been around the world, but I have been around Western Europe. I always thought Mont Saint-Michel was incredible, however unreachable. But when I studied abroad in Belgium, our group took a trip to this out-of-the-way island town on the French coast.