02 June 2011
Book Review: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins / 2010
Date Finished: 19 May 2011
Source/Format: Not sure / Print
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
The Short and Sweet of It
Sam Kingston leaves a party with her friends, Elody, Lindsay, and Ally. Minutes later, she dies. Then she wakes up in her bed and the day starts all over again. Over and over, Sam relives the last day of her life in this thoughtful and thought provoking novel.
A Bit of a Ramble
I must admit that it took me quite a while to get into this book. I hated Sam. She is pretty much a spoiled, snotty bitch, and I felt no sympathy for her whatsoever. She, along with her three best friends, torture their classmates, suffer from serious narcissistic personality disorders, and in general walk around with god complexes. My hatred of girls like this does not stem from any sort of bullying I experienced: I was a cheerleading captain, president of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Club, pretty well off with the boys, and in general a relatively well liked girl in school. I had friends and parties and styling clothes and cool hair and blah blah blah. But never, and I mean never, did I insult, ignore, or injure anyone else (at least not in the bullying sort of way). And neither did anyone I knew.
By the end, I had stopped hating Sam, but I must admit that I still didn't really like her. The lack of character required to treat people as horrendously as she did is something that I just can't stomach, and while she was clearly "learning" to be a better person through her Groundhog Day experience, I do not feel this excuses or justifies past behavior. What can I say? I am a real hardass about treating other people with compassion and respect.
Even though I disliked Sam, I was completely engrossed in her story, and I did not want to put the book down. Each day offered opportunities for reflection, and while I wouldn't call the book particularly action-packed, it was extremely thoughtful and well-paced. When the story revolves around a repeat of the same day, the author must take care to convey enough similarity between the days to stay true to the premise, but also insert enough difference to keep the reader entertained. Oliver did a great job with this! If you have not yet read this one, I highly recommend picking it up!
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Question: What are books where you really didn't like the protagonist but still liked the book?