Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

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3/5 stars!

I’m torn in two equal parts. I loved and hated it in equal measures. I’m enlightened but I’m still confused and now I don’t know what to do with myself let alone this review. So I’ll probably just rant away to my heart’s content and hopefully by the end of this review, I’ll be more stable.

I appreciate that an author for once decided to focus on a sister grieving over her brother who killed himself and I believe Ms. Cynthia Hand was able to realistically portray this. It works because the story is in Lexie’s POV as she narrates her grieving process and at the same time confesses her inner thoughts in her journal as a requirement of her therapist.

The matter of fact approach makes the story very genuine and I find Lexie very relatable. I love that she’s a math wizard, a really cool geek and I love that her humor is still very much intact in spite of grief. The mysterious elements throughout the novel also kept me intrigued and eager to finish the book.

In the end, I was able to fully grasp the intention of the novel and that is to emphasize that nobody can be blamed over a suicide except for the person who committed it and I’m very glad for Lexie when she finally comes to terms with her brother’s decision and ultimately reconnect with her family, her friends, her boyfriend and especially with herself through this unexpected plot twist.

 

You can simply stop reading here. I actually encourage you to do that.
____________________________________________________________

Oh wow! You decided to read on. Thank you but good luck!

Why I hated the book (and I know I’m being unfair but well life is unfair, right?) is because it led me to the conclusion that there are no specific symptoms we could detect to determine a suicidal person. Suicide victims vary in their manifestations. Some show obvious signs. Some just don’t and I hated this information presented in the book especially on the increasing suicide rates among teens. I hated that all these things were just thrown out there and I hated that particular part of the plot where suicide seemed to become an easy alternative to solving any teenage problem. I hated that it appears to be something that can be contagious, something to be envied and “emulated”.
 Depression=Suicide
 Failed Exam=Suicide
 Victim of Bullying=Suicide
 Broken Family=Suicide
 Broken Heart=Suicide
 Dare/trend/whim=Suicide
 Needs attention=Suicide

 
And I know these are facts but what was I supposed to do with this information when seemingly, in the end, it’s still the person’s decision and there could have been nothing to be done to help him change his mind. This gloriously sucks! It makes me want to punch someone and I know the book focuses on the person’s grief but I couldn’t help it because the plot inevitably touched these matters.

 

***spoiler*** Patrick’s suicide seriously bothered me. I mean, what the eff?. It was just thrown there in the plot and was I supposed to just say “Ta-ta, Partrick. Let’s move on. This isn’t about your suicide. It’s not even about Ty’s, not really. It’s really about Lex’s grief, it’s about moving on and your suicides are just necessary tools to point out the real theme of the story. ***end of spoiler***

 
Phew! That helped. I’m feeling a lot better now. Ultimately, the only thing we can do is to be the best person we could be every chance we get with people who matter to us. It may or may not change their decision but it’s all we could really do because after all, we never know when it’s the last time we say goodbye.

 

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