July 8, 2014

A second summer movie

Forman, Gayle. If I Stay. New York: Dutton Books, 2009.

Another tearjerker of a book that's about to be made into a movie. For some reason this didn't engage me quite as much as The Fault in Our Stars (maybe because the movie doesn't come out for six more weeks), but it was still a page-turner (-tapper? What do I call it when I read the whole thing on my phone?) and I still teared up awkwardly on the treadmill.

The plot is pretty simple, and easy to see how it would be translated into film. Mia is unconscious after a tragic car accident, and she both sees what's going on in the hospital and flashes back through her teenage life while trying to decide--realizing that she has to decide--whether to come back or move on. The best parts are her interactions, both conscious and not, with her stoic but deep-feeling grandfather. He seems to understand just what she needs at all times. There are some funny parts and some angsty teen romance and, of course, a fair amount of pondering the pros and cons of waking up into the situation she's now in.

I won't spoil it (watch the movie if you don't feel like reading) but I felt good about the ending. The reason that doesn't spoil anything is that the story seems to give all directions a fair shake. Any ending that Mia chose would have been the right one for her. What more can we ask for, after all?

Rating: ***

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