Have you ever given a thought to how you going to die???
I keep having this one dream since about age seven. I am in a hospital. My body is really really tiny and my skin nearly translucent. I can see my veins! All of them. And I feel so so so tired. I think I am sick otherwise I would not be in a hospital. And it need to be serious. The boy I love is sitting next to me and the doctor walks in and informs that I have leukemia. I am dying. I go through various ways of trying to save my life (chemotherapy, blood transfusion..). But nothing is working and I eventually come to realisation that I am going to die. I get worse day by day and as I prepare to welcome the death I say goodbye to my family and friends. I am young. Maybe 30 years old maximum. I have no children but there is a man I love deeply with me and I am sad. Sad to be leaving him because I finally found out that he does really truly love me.. And then after a long struggle I die.
I know this might sound very strange to you. Talking about death on a blog and my strange dreams. But I keep having since a young age and I kinda think that this is the way I am going to die. And this is one of the reason why I picked up this book. There are three reasons in total:
1. This weird morbid dream I keep on having.
2. This is the only book my housemate Heidi read in 4 hours and recommended to me.
3. I have seen a film which was based on this novel and I absolutely loved it.
I expected big things from this book. I thought it will capture my attention and I will not be able to put it down. I will want to read constatnly. Especially when Heidi recommended ! She was speaking of this book so highly! I was excited. I wanted to read it so much. She even lent me her only copy.
So I put the book into my satchel to read on the bus on my way to work. Away I went then. I read first two chapters but for some reason I could not get into it. I wanted to find out what a person who knows that they are dying feels. How will Tessa cope? What will she do with the rest of her time? How she will react? How her parents will react.. But instead I felt a little bit bored. But I set my goal and the goal was the read it through. I force myself and slowly got into it. I went through series of various emotion.
Firstly I hated Tessa. I think she is one of the most selfish character I have ever read about. She thinks that just because she is dying she is invicible and nobody will stop her. He has this ridiculous list of this she wants to do before she dies: Sex, Drugs, Stealing, Breaking the law, Say yes to everything.. She has sex with a random guy. She takes mushrooms. She steals in Morrisons and put her down her dad a lot. Seriously she is really really cruel! I know that knowing that you are going to die must be hard. The thought that you have only limited amount of days on Earth but be hard. Especially when everybody around you gets to live and experience new things. They will have their own lives after you are gone. But Oh my world, I just wanted to slap her. On many many occasions!
But then she met Adam and she changed. Being for the first time in love, brought the best in her. She was more thoughtful. She realised there is more to the life than sex, drugs, alcohol and breaking the law. For the first time she actually wanted to live and looked for the signs that she might get to live. And that is when I started to like Tessa and although I knew that this book doesn't have a happy ending, I hoped and prayed for her to somehow miraculously to heal and get healthy.
And then I was jealous. Adam is one of the good guys. She found a gold in him. He loved her. He cared for her. And he did not run away when he saw what the illness does to her. He stayed all the way through until the end. And I was jealous that she found somebody like him, because I have been searching for years now and nothing from it.
And at the end I felt sadness. Sadness because Tessa got to be finally happy and she didn't get to enjoy it. I loved the way Jenny Downham portrayed Tessa's last days. You could imagine very clearly how it maybe feels when you are dying. You can hear the people around you. You are concious one minute and passed out the next one. And you think of all things that made a clear mark in your memory. You make notes for people who you are leaving behind. Give them advice. Try to tell to enjoy life while they can.
Yes, at the beginning I didn't think much of the book and the main character. But slowly I learn to appreciate this book and realise maybe that was the way Tessa could cope with her destiny. And at the end I wanted her to live and get the things she wanted.
When I finished this book, it was just after midnight, I sat queitly for about 20 mins loooking into nothing. I thought about my own dream and how would I cope with the fact that somebody somewhere decided that I have only couple of years, months, days to live. How would I react? What would I do with my last days? But that is hard to say. So at the end I had no real right to judge the way Tessa behaved. I might would be the same.
Anyways, I like this book. I hope you will read because it will make you think. And it will make you cry. Even the toughest of hearts will shed a tear while reading last 10 pages. I promise you that.