Huh. Not what I was expecting. Somehow the blurb led me to think something different about this book, but still, not a bad surprise.
I was a little wary about picking up this book. I really liked Just One Day, but was let down by Just One Year. So, I’m not really sure how I feel about Forman’s writing as a ‘fit’ for me. (I’ve talked about this with other authors)
The thing that really held me back with I Was Here was how little empathy I felt for Cody. I just didn’t connect with her, at all. And I was conflicted over how I felt about her friendship with Meg. I didn’t like Cody’s attitude towards others, and I felt like her and Meg’s haughtiness made it hard for me to really let go and enjoy the story.
I did enjoy the movement of the book, both literally and more psychologically. As in, we get a lot of movement, in a physical sense. Cody goes back and forth from her hometown, to Meg’s college town, then half way across country to try and find some sort of closure (because that’s the easiest way to describe it). And I liked how as a reader I could see the character development, how Cody moves from being in one mindset, to another.
The character that captivated me, and who kept me turning the pages, was Ben. He’s got a compelling shade to him, if that makes sense? And I was really interested in his origins and also in what he might do next. I liked reading how Ben changed and evolved as a character too.
I admire how Forman talks about death in this narrative. I think she takes what most of us have thought, that ‘if I were to do it…’, and manages to put it across without either glorifying it or condemning it. It’s a careful balancing act, methinks.
I think it’s a brave book, but somewhere the characters get lost in the philosophy. I really liked the ending and I gave it a solid 3.5 out of 5.