BEFORE I DIE BY JENNY DOWNHAM

This kept cropping up over the year. I’d spot on numerous occasions whilst browsing the library shelves but always ended up with something else in my hand. However, this time around I decided it was time to give it a go. I was intrigued on how the story may pan out, and hoped it didn’t have the disappointment I found with A Fault in their Stars. Whilst I don’t think this book was particularly down my alley, the ending caught me in a way that I didn’t really expect it to.

Tessa wants to fulfil a list of achievements before she dies. Trying to ignore the restraints of her illness, Tessa explores new experiences to make herself feel alive. And with relationships from every aspect of her life feeling strained, she wants to make the most of her last living weeks.

Initially I was put off by the prospect of love and it’s heavy involvement in this book. I thought that so many others ideas, love didn’t have to be the main focus. But then hey, I think that about so many books. I sort of went in with that sort of perception. And the first couple chapters promised that. Reading about Tessa and her quest, I thought ‘here we go’. But the more I read, the less pessimistic I got.

The novel had a lot of similar tones to the ones that I had found in The Fault in Our Stars and quite frankly I’d been disappointed by that book. There were similar connotations throughout. Cancer sufferer wanting to live life to the full before she dies. I wanted there to be so much more.

Throughout the book, my thoughts kept dipping in and out as to whether I was enjoying the read. A lot of the time I just wanted to finish the story as I didn’t find the story as thrilling as I wanted it to be.
I mean, it could have been a really interesting story but I didn’t like Tessa or her friends as much as I would have liked to. I thought they were careless and abrupt. I couldn’t care less about them. And whilst sometimes seeing people reading about like this are insightful, these people came across as plain idiotic. Frustrating in some parts as you would.

I did, however like that it skipped big chunks in the novel – meant time went quickly and nothing dragged out and it became more exciting. Through this skipping, the dying scenes caught me by surprise. Once I read the last page I had to have a couple of moments. These were poginent and where Jenny Downham’s writing really came into its own. Just wish this was throughout the whole book as it’s left me with a different perspective at the end of the book and more appreciative of it than I would have had.

Frustrating characters, annoying narratives but with a ending which rescues this book. I am glad I’ve read it,but probably wouldn’t pick it up to read again. That ending though, oh man!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s