Suicide Notes By Michael Thomas Ford
Published Oct 14th 2008 By Harper Teen
I’m not crazy. I don’t see what the big deal is about what happened. But apparently someone does think it’s a big deal because here I am. I bet it was my mother. She always overreacts.
Fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year’s Day to find himself in the hospital. Make that the psychiatric ward. With the nutjobs. Clearly, this is all a huge mistake. Forget about the bandages on his wrists and the notes on his chart. Forget about his problems with his best friend, Allie, and her boyfriend, Burke. Jeff’s perfectly fine, perfectly normal, not like the other kids in the hospital with him. Now they’ve got problems. But a funny thing happens as his forty-five-day sentence drags on: the crazies start to seem less crazy.
Compelling, witty, and refreshingly real, Suicide Notes is a darkly humorous novel from award-winning author Michael Thomas Ford that examines that fuzzy line between “normal” and the rest of us.
I really loved Suicide Notes.
I found it really hard to write a review immediately after because there was just so much to process and I wasn’t sure my review would have done the book justice (though even now, I don’t think it would). Suicide Notes is a bit of a gem. I haven’t seen anyone else talk about this book, so I went in quite blindly with only a synopsis which I think is a good way to go into this book.
I’m going to try, as much as possible to keep this review spoiler free, though it would mean I’m unable to share one of my favourite quotes off this book.
Suicide Notes is about a fifteen-year-old boy, Jeff, who ended up in a psychiatric ward after trying to (as the book title suggests), commit suicide. He’s being put in a 45-day programme to help him try to process the situation and talk about it. The book revolves around his journey in this 45-day programme, and its written in a diary-type format, though this is not explicitly so.
The general plot is really good, though perhaps a little bit predictable (especially if you’ve seen the genres its placed in on Goodreads) but still a solid book. Perhaps my only quip with this book is the middle got a bit slow and boring, but I assure you that as you push through it definitely gets better. The last third of the book was spectacular, and I really loved how it all wrapped up. It was thought-provoking and it really made you think about the way society works.
The characters are quirky, at best. They’re cooky and funny, but still lacked a bit of finesse. I wouldn’t say Jeff, nor the supporting characters to be memorable, but Suicide Notes seem to be more plot-driven than character. Of course, each character has their own abilities. That being, the side characters being more interesting, while Jeff had a more compelling story.
I wouldn’t give this a 5-star rating if not for the ending and Jeff’s character development at the end. The writing and plot was a solid 4-star book in itself, despite the lack of memorable characters. Suicide Notes brought to light many important and current social issues, and I certainly hope it gets more recognition. Suicide Notes covers such difficult subjects like suicide attempts and sexuality, and tried to adopt it in a funny and approachable manner.
Suicide Note is an overall great read, and I’d recommend you reading this with an open mind.