Sunday, August 31, 2014

College Fashion Link Up: If I Stay

I'm just going to get right to it, with Unpopular Opinion time: I absolutely hated Gayle Forman's If I Stay. 

The novel follows the story of Mia Hall, a young cellist about to graduate high school and move away from her boyfriend, after the car her family is driving in is involved in a collision, and are grievously injured. With her mother and father dead, and her younger brother nowhere to be found, Mia follows the after-effects of the crash in an out-of-body experience, watching those she loves gather and contemplating whether life will really be worth living. 

I had made the decision to read the novel specifically for the benefit of my College Fashion "Looks from Books" column. Thankfully, for me, the book is barely novel length. I'd actually call it a novella. Either it was the extraordinarily short length I thought it was, or the reading level for the words involved in its construction were at such a low comprehension setting that I was able to soar through it with extraordinary speed. I've finished books in one sitting before... but never in one hour.

The concept behind the narrative, I also found, was a holistically unproductive, and maybe even a little damaging, one: the entire novel promotes the idea that while Mia is in the hospital, she has complete control over whether she lives or dies. Even as she lies unconscious, in a coma, she is broadcast as having the choice of sustaining her own life... after her "spirit" even considers the possibility of passing on, her health is shown as failing. As  the daughter of a hospital administrator, I call super-shenanigans on that shit. That is not a healthy way to approach something as serious as death... if someone in a coma dies, it is not because they've consciously made that decision, "given up," or chosen to leave. It's because their body was no longer able to sustain itself or function properly.

And this may count as a spoiler, but the reason she ultimately considers life, is a stupid one, as well. 

Even outside the novel, the comments made by the star of the movie - Chloe Grace Moretz - also ticked me off, in the same way that it ticked off a lot of people who love to read and enjoy YA novels. The sheer fact that that Moretz thought of the novel as anything "above" or "better" than the regular level of this kind of fiction is a sheerly laughable concept... the blurb on the cover compares it to Twilight, for crying out loud!

So, in total, my experience in reading the book was not a pleasant one. At least the College Fashion article turned out okay. Here's my favorite look from the article, based around the conflicts of future between Mia and her boyfriend: 

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