Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“No, if you run away, they never stop looking for you. You still exist, trapped in your life. But if you die . . .” Her voice is soft and sweet. She turns toward me. She smiles. “Junie, you’re free.”
I basically gobbled this book in two days – two straight days.
“Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls” is a 2015 YA thriller that dares you to go to the most dangerous places when you lose your loved one. June, our innocent protagonist, finds out that someone long estranged, someone she used to be BFFs with, has killed herself. She never left things the way she wanted the last time she talked to Delia, and now that Delia’s dead, she’s plagued by both the loose strings and the deep loss. She doesn’t know how else to cope other than digging around to make sense of her friend’s sudden decision, only to discover that it all seemed like a setup. Delia, the daredevil that rocked her world the moment she entered her life, is terrified of fire. She always knew this for a fact. She couldn’t have burned herself to death, June thought. She must have been murdered.
And that’s where our story begins.
“I had so many chances to fix things between us.
So many chances that I didn’t take. Whatever was going on
in her life, if I had been there, I would have kept her safe.”
“Are you an optimist? Or are you a pessimist?” “I don’t know. Perhaps a bit of both. What about you?” “I’m an optimist, Jonas. And do you know why? I think it’s immoral to be a pessimist.” “Immoral?” “Pessimism is just another word for laziness. Of course I worry. But that’s different. A pessimist has […]
“A barrier had been broken. Beneath the hard, painful surface of her recollection were layers of healing truth. God had never left her side, not even for a moment.”
Max Lucado is the author of dozens of books that have gone to become major bestsellers. With over 92 million copies sold and having penned close to 100 books, the prolific author also ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. His gift for storytelling is so apparent on each and every mission he sets out to do, it’s no wonder in 2005, the Reader’s Digest dubbed him “The Best Preacher in America.”
My first Max Lucado book was given to me just before leaving the States for good after finishing my studies there. It was on the very last day, right when I was carrying my luggages to the taxi. You’d never guess who it was from – my landlord. I suspect she’s a clairvoyant, but anywho, she gave me the thin, 64-page book, “He Did This Just For You” that so many have found life-changing. I think I only got around to it a couple of years or so later, and I remember on the night that I binged on it, I cried helplessly in my room. It was the day I realized I have a father I never had. Had I not receive this seemingly random gift from my landlord, I’d never really see the biblical God as that personal. Fast forward some time toward the end of 2016, I was in the local bookstore as usual and I found this Max Lucado fiction. I grabbed it impulsively because I know there’s a higher chance I’d finish a fiction than a nonfiction book, and also because the preamble caught my instant attention at the time I bought it:
“What if you could ask God anything?
What would you ask? And how would He answer?”
The World According to Anna by Jostein Gaarder, pages 181-182
She is sitting in a spaceship with the Arab boy. They have won an international award recognizing their efforts on the planet’s behalf. The prize is twelve orbits of the earth.
There are just the two of them in the tiny cabin. They don’t need to worry about anything technical: the shuttle is steered and controlled by computers; all they have to do is sit back and enjoy the trip.
They look down on their planet. Both of them have seen photos from the Apollo mission more than a hundred years ago. The globe is unrecognizable now. It is much more obscured by clouds and storms. This tallies with their experience on the ground. The planet that looked like a bluish-green marble now has more in common with a colorless ball of wool.
Despite all the clouds, it is still a spectacular feeling to be in space, and they can still glimpse some green, brown, and blue patches between the cloud systems. That’s Africa, and there’s India, China and Japan . . .
What surprises her most is the silence. All she can hear is her friend’s breathing. She thinks she can also hear his heart beating. Or is it hers?
The boy is looking at her and smiling.
I’ve always loved fiction for as long as I can remember. To me, characters, albeit imaginary ones, speak more truth than the surface-level information and knowledge I get from most nonfiction books. As a kid I fell in love with them while trying to improve my English. I started reading more because I heard that reading improves your linguistic abilities. Then as I grew up, and I don’t know if it’s just me, it seems like people respect you more if you read more nonfiction than mere literature, as it implies you’ve acquired more real-world, practical and applicable knowledge rather than just reading for pleasure. I gave in to that impression and gradually lost interest in books at all.
This year, however, has been the year that I embraced my true self. I made a simple goal of reading 12 books of any kind to fall in love with books again, and I ended up with 99% fiction. As I said, reading was one way I take pleasure, and I find great joy in watching stories unfold and journeying with particular characters as they go through highs and lows in order to experience change. Like a cup of good tea, it’s been a way for me to unwind and loosen the tangled thoughts in my head. It takes my mind off myself and watching how another character as flawed as I am faces his or her challenges. I’m glad I’ve taken the plunge into worlds that only exist in the mind once again, because as Einstein famously said, imagination is more important than knowledge. Reading into characters deeply has made me a more considerate and empathetic person than I was a year ago.
Here are the pieces of literature (plus one nonfiction) I’ve read this year, listed in reading chronological order: