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Still with Me Kindle Edition
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|Length: 287 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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DEFINITELY a frustratingly beautiful book. I don't even know how to sum it up..Poignant. A heart and soul smashed between a beginning and ending. Or is it a beginning?
A must read. One I could put on the shelf and read again.
¥ Thank you Thierry Cohen for opening up your mind and heart and putting word's to your grief and journey for answers. In doing so you have spun a perspective that may actually save the life of a troubled soul looking for meaning. Every life knows a moment of crises. Anyone who denies this is a liar.
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.
I doubt that Cohen presents the beliefs of the Rabbi, who explains things to Jeremy near the end, as a fixed theology. In fact, it doesn't matter. What happens is that the main character experiences a fantastic series of events followed by a dramatic conclusion. (No spoilers here!). Some of those readers who have been wounded deeply by the loss of a suicidal friend or family member may not be able to read this book objectively, but the rest of us will find it to be an emotionally engaging tale that satisfies our penchants for well told stories.
It starts off with our hero committing suicide. Or attempting to commit suicide, over a love lost. (It's his 20th birthday, he's in for several loves lost, should he survive, no? Yes?)
On his 22d birthday, he "wakes" to discover his suicide failed, he's lost two years, and he did, in fact, marry the love of his life. That night, before bed, he has a seizure (for lack of a better word) and is paralyzed with fear as an old man appears next to him and says the kaddish for him.
Every so many years, he 'wakens' – always on his birthday – to discover in the intervening years he has become a mean, ornery sonofagun. He loses his friends, his wife, his children, and no one, including the doctors, either believes him, or can help him.
The last time he wakes, he knows beyond a reasonable doubt that on that day he will finally die. He discovers his youngest son believes him, and takes him to his grandson's wedding, where he sees his older son, his ex wife, a rabbi who tried to help, his one-time best friend. He is finally able to face his life – and his death – and make peace with his god.
This is, perhaps, an old morality tale revamped as some reviewers have stated. I read it as a novel. Period. While I feel a great deal of sympathy for those who feel the only way out of their situations is suicide, I also feel for their loved ones. However, I do not believe that suicide is of itself inherently evil or wrong. That belief seems to be inherent in the Judeo-Christian religions, to which I am not aligned.
I don't normally like 'writing as therapy' and yet, Mr. Cohen wrote this book to help him deal with the suicide of one of his friends, and I think it works. At least, I'm still thinking about the book – and the end. It is my thought that when you read the book, you and I will have different perceptions about the ending, so I don't want to say any more.