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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Groundhog Day and Butterfly Effect Reminiscent
On Jeremy's 20th birthday, he confesses his love to his childhood best friend, Victoria, and she rejects him. Not only does she reject him, she introduces him to her fiancé. Feeling that his life is not worth living any longer and cursing God for sparing him no sympathy, Jeremy washes down handfuls of pills with alcohol and commits suicide.

Surprisingly,...
Published on January 10, 2013 by Jamie Wilson

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93 of 104 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On The Precipice of Something Important
EDIT: The premise of this book spoke to me: author Thierry Cohen wrote this novel based on his own experience with his friend's suicide. This novel is about a man named Jeremy tries to take his life after his childhood friend, Victoria, rejects his declaration of love. But he does not expect to wake up next to Victoria after, who returns his love. Nor does he realize that...
Published on November 23, 2012 by Leah


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93 of 104 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On The Precipice of Something Important, November 23, 2012
This review is from: Still with Me (Paperback)
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EDIT: The premise of this book spoke to me: author Thierry Cohen wrote this novel based on his own experience with his friend's suicide. This novel is about a man named Jeremy tries to take his life after his childhood friend, Victoria, rejects his declaration of love. But he does not expect to wake up next to Victoria after, who returns his love. Nor does he realize that he has set off a chain of unexpected events.

STILL WITH ME is a novel which tries to explore the cause and effect of suicide. The writing is beautiful. I was able to picture all of the events and people. Jeremy's journey to understanding was engaging, yet I found myself relating more to Victoria. She was the most realized character.

However, it pushes the belief that people who try to commit or do commit suicide are just selfish. This is my biggest problem with the book. I have two family members--one tried to commit suicide, the other did. They were not trying to "stick it" to anyone. An author can work their personal beliefs into fiction, but I could not buy into the novel's notion that suicide is used as a form of revenge against someone.

This novel did not sit well with me. If only it had handled suicide, a topic many people don't like to talk about, differently. I would recommend the book to a select audience.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Groundhog Day and Butterfly Effect Reminiscent, January 10, 2013
This review is from: Still with Me (Paperback)
On Jeremy's 20th birthday, he confesses his love to his childhood best friend, Victoria, and she rejects him. Not only does she reject him, she introduces him to her fiancé. Feeling that his life is not worth living any longer and cursing God for sparing him no sympathy, Jeremy washes down handfuls of pills with alcohol and commits suicide.

Surprisingly, Jeremy finds himself awakening one year later on his birthday with no memory of what happened between what he soon discovers was a suicide attempt and not success. He is living with Victoria in her apartment and discovers that after his attempt she arrived at his apartment to confess her love back, finding him instead. She then nursed him back to health and won his heart back over before the two moved on together. Jeremy and Victoria are both concerned that he remembers none of this, and she takes him to a hospital to be examined.

At the end of each birthday, he feels himself dying again, yet he's never sure when he'll reappear, as he soon discovers it isn't every birthday that he shows up. In the meanwhile, his doppelganger is making a mess of his life, and Jeremy has no control over this other "him", except on the occasional birthday when he's so lucky to pop in. For him, mere days pass as he goes to sleep each night and awakens somewhere in time years ahead from when he fell asleep. Is this hell? To finally get the girl of his dreams and live a lifetime with her in mere days?

A must read, very original storyline, and thought provoking even if a bit towards the religious side; However understandable given the subject matter of suicide. Fast, easy read, I couldn't put it down.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise, but ultimately unsatisfying, January 5, 2013
This review is from: Still with Me (Paperback)
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This novel was written by the author after his best friend committed suicide. It begins with the (attempted? completed?) suicide, on his birthday, of a young Jeremy, who has been spurned by Victoria, the woman he loves. Instead of dying, however, Jeremy wakes on his birthday a year later to find that he and Victoria are happily in love; however, he has no memory of anything since his suicide attempt.

With each chapter, Jeremy wakes on another birthday, to find his life irrevocably altered each time. He feels more and more out of control as his life deteriorates, unable to figure out what is happening as his reprehensible, but unremembered, behavior between birthdays destroys his entire life. He struggles to understand whether he is really alive or in hell.

The novel is, of course, an exploration of the aftermath of a suicide. The tone of the novel suggests that suicide is a selfish choice that is made without thought to others. In the punitive aftermath of Jeremy's choice, one can't help but wonder whether the novel is the author's way of working through some of his anger at his best friend. Which would be completely understandable, but it limits the story. Rather than exploring the multifaceted and complex issues around suicide, it feels boiled down too simply to a selfish, impulsive choice that occurs because the person doesn't think about those around them. Of course, suicide is not that simple.

Another unfortunate result of this tone is that Jeremy comes across as a rather unsympathetic character. We get glimpses of the "real Jeremy" on his birthday as each chapter begins, and these are presented in stark contrast to the everyday Jeremy who apparently hurts everyone around him. Because Jeremy himself is terribly confused about his identity, the reader never really gets a sense of who he is, making it incredibly difficult to invest in the ultimate outcome of his story.

The surrounding characters, too, seem rather incidental and are never really developed. The writing itself is quite good, and deftly captures Jeremy's sense of increasingly confused desperation; however, it was ultimately not enough to make me ever feel connected to the story, which ended on a rather ambiguous and unsatisfying note.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 19th-century style morality tale, heavy on the guilt, March 18, 2013
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This review is from: Still with Me (Kindle Edition)
if clinging to your faith out of guilt alone is how you operate in your daily life, you will feel right at home reading this story.

while the story is technically (grammatically) well written, and the premise as relayed in the blurb is novel and interesting, this book is at its heart a 19th-century-style almost gothic morality tale. the story begins innocently, if blandly, enough with the unrequited-love suicide of Jeremy, our lead character. on the anniversary of his suicide (his birthday), he "wakes up" for a few hours to discover he is actually still alive, but has no memory of the time lapsed since his suicide. he has married his unrequited love (who had been engaged to someone else until Jeremy humiliated himself by declaring his love), abandoned his former passion for art and become a salesman, and is otherwise unrecognizable to himself.

there is very little physical observation sufficient to engage and anchor the reader beyond a superficial level. i found it extremely difficult to connect with this character, hard to care about what happened to him, until his third waking birthday when the story finally called out to my maternal instincts. However, this is the same point in the story when i began to fear that the subtle religious undertones were becoming glaring overtones. while i was finally beginning to care for the characters, i was dreading the plot twist being foreshadowed. instead of Jeremy, our lead character has become a petty, vengeful, spiteful old testament god, bent on punishing Jeremy for his mental illness (evidenced by his suicide) by ruining the lives of everyone around him and forcing him to watch from within the cage of his erratic amnesia and wakefulness.

in addition to bashing the reader over the head with the old testament, the author dangerously muddles the line between mental illness and bad behavior. the soulless Jeremy that occupies his body is a true bastard, abusing and cheating on his wife, neglecting his children, and shunning his parents for no clear reason. The "real" Jeremy, present and awake for only a few hours every few years, attempts to protect his family from his soulless counterpart's misdeeds by claiming insanity. the result is that his family, dealing more frequently with the soulless version than the 'real' Jeremy, consider his episodic amnesia and mental illness claims a convenient ruse he uses to enable his deplorable behavior. the latent suggestion is that mental illness is an excuse used to cover up one's apostate godlessness. i find this notion offensive, and feel it is potentially damaging to anyone living with a mental illness or caring for the mentally ill.

the overarching message at the end, after a lifetime of abuse and anguish for himself and his entire extended family, is that if you blame god for your misfortunes, god will make you watch as he heaps even more misfortune not only on your own head, but on the heads of everyone you love. and then you die, old, mute, and paralyzed, while the world moves on without you.

this is far from a comforting message that reinforces faith, or a paranormal ghostly romance, or even a cautionary tale to discourage suicide. Still With Me tries to disguise itself as all of these, but the only thing it is, is an ugly missive on faith-through-guilt, dripping with unhealthy messages about surviving mental illness.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A French Aesop's Fable, November 4, 2012
This review is from: Still with Me (Paperback)
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If Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde and Ebenezer Scrooge collaborated on a book, it might be something like "Still with Me."

I'll try to keep spoilers out of the review, but that is difficult with this type of book. It presents an interesting premise: a young man in the throes of unrequited love swallows pills and a bottle of liquor on his 20th birthday. Then he comes to himself, just for the day, on about 9 subsequent birthdays throughout his life. From his perspective, his life is compressed into those brief days and he literally sees his life flashing before his eyes. Each time his true self surfaces, he is shocked to find that his depraved "other" self, who is conscious on all the other days, increases in selfishness and cruelty, destroying the lives of loved ones.

The premise was interesting and kept me reading. I only had brief periods when I could read this short novel, and I found myself pondering the implications of the book and the possibilities for endings while I was at work or doing chores.

The greatest problem with stories based on a concept like this, whether they are sci-fi, horror or metaphysical, is the ending. Finding a suitable, reasonable way to conclude the tale is very difficult. This novel suffers from that syndrome. The ending "proves" the author's beliefs -- as in a science fiction novel written by a proponent of atomic energy who creates a future world where all other sources fail, "proving" that atomic energy is a wise alternative (forgive me -- I'm trying so hard not to throw in spoilers).

At its core, this novel is similar to an Aesop's fable. There is a message and that message is delivered without any attempt to be subtle. I cannot accept the author's belief that people who commit suicide are merely very selfish, irresponsible creatures. I'm acquainted with people who have at least contemplated suicide, and their root cause was clinical depression.

Assigning stars for this book is tough. The translation from French is well done. Parts of the book are engrossing, and more is required of the reader than usual. Perhaps 4 stars? However, other aspects are quite heavy-handed and one-sided. More like 2 stars? The 3 star rating is a compromise. I'm glad I read the book. It would be a great choice for a discussion group.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Premise Looking at Suicide, January 8, 2013
This review is from: Still with Me (Paperback)
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"Still With Me" by Thierry Cohen was written in response to a close friend of his committing suicide. Apparently this novel opened up a huge discussion of suicide in France and led to some practices being implemented in response to suicide.

"Still With Me" revolves around Jeremy, a 20 year old student who commits suicide on his 20th birthday when the girl he has loved since he was a child, Victoria, rejects his declaration of love and informs him she is engaged to someone else. Jeremy committing suicide wakes up and finds that a year has passed and it is now his 21st birthday and he is happily dating Victoria. Jeremy cannot remember the year proceeding and cannot believe that he and Victoria are not together.

Through discussions with Victoria and his best friend Pierre Jeremy we find is still selfish and solely fixated on Victoria for the cause of his own happiness.

The novel follows Jeremy from his 20th birthday til his old age still waking and finding that time has passed. I don't want to spoil the novel but when Jeremy finds out what is going on and why he is missing huge chunks of his life you will get chills. I loved how Thierry framed the story and the resolution at the end. Also seeing how Jeremy's own Judaism and religious beliefs came into play was very good and thoughtfully interwoven into the story.

I would recommend reading this but I think if anyone has known someone who has committed suicide or attempted it this subject and the way it is portrayed in this novel may be a bit too raw for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Suicide is more complex than this., December 11, 2012
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This review is from: Still with Me (Paperback)
With these thoughts, Jeremy commits suicide. He consciously does not think about the other people in his life. He is sad and ashamed that the love of his life does not love him in return. He awakens to find that the woman he loves has been with him for the past year. He doesnt remember much of his life, but struggles with whether he has survived or is dreaming.
I found the thinking on suicide to be simplistic. While suicide can be an impulsive act, especially under the influence of drugs and alcohol, suicide is often the result of debilitating long term depression. It can be the result of a number of mental illnesses and to label it as simply selfish misses the nuances of the problem. I know a number of people who have attempted suicide, and I do not think I would want them to read this book.
I understand the author's intent, and I think he does make the point to choose life. The ending had some lovely thoughts that I cannot reveal without spoilers. The thoughts on God and suicide are interesting to read. And Jeremy's life is not without charm in the writing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly executed and written story, with one serious issue, January 12, 2013
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Sophia (the Pacific Northwest) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Still with Me (Paperback)
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As "Still With Me" opens, the protagonist, Jeremy discovers that the love of his life, Victoria, doesn't love him back and is, in fact, engaged to someone else. Crushed, he takes an overdose of pills and washes them down with whiskey. It's his twentieth birthday.

A year later, he wakes up to find Victoria beside him. They are blissfully engaged , but he can remember nothing of what happened, nor why his life is moving in a different direction than he had planned. At the end of the birthday, he feels ill again, and Victoria takes him to the hospital. Jeremy awakens again a year later, but the person Jeremy has turned into is almost unrecognizable - and, each year, it's getting worse.

This story is very compelling and brilliantly written. The reader shares Jeremy's confusion as he has no idea what's going on, what has happened to make his life unravel, or how he can make it stop. The conclusion was wrenchingly powerful.

My main criticism is that, as other readers have indicated, the author depicts suicide as a deeply selfish act, with Jeremy taking his life in an act of childish "I'll show you!" desperation - and the immature, borderline-creepy portrayal of Jeremy as the story opens does little to dispel that. The awakened Jeremy seems like a nice guy, but he is so confused by the train wreck his life has become, he is not able to establish a viable adult character.

Also, the supporting characters were not terribly well defined - not surprising, given the novel's unique format.

This is a very well written book with an original and compelling story - if not the easiest one to read. I would definitely read his future books, but would be cautious recommending this work to someone suffering from depression or grieving a suicide.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars such annoying style, February 26, 2013
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This review is from: Still with Me (Kindle Edition)
The premise of this book was intriguing, but I simply cannot continue to plow through it. The author's writing style is so awkward, so contrived, and the characters lacking in both depth and any empathetic identity. I have to say, I am simply hating this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WEIRD, February 21, 2013
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Could not recommend it to anyone - it gave me the creeps the characters were not believable.did not have any sympathy for them
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Still with Me
Still with Me by Thierry Cohen
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