Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
To be published in January 2018
So this was a pretty quick read, but it almost pained me to continue reading. It was almost a “lost interest” or “did not finish” – but I pushed through because I was hoping there would be some sort of an ending to this mystery that made the journey less boring. Alas, I was disappointed.

Before I Let Go is the story of Corey, a girl who returns to her hometown of “Lost” after finding out that her best friend Kyra has died. Once there, Corey strives to find out how exactly Kyra died, and is met with all sorts of mystery and road blocks.

The story revolves around Kyra and her bipolar disorder and the stigmas surrounding it. The setting is pretty cool – it’s a very small ghost like town in snowy Alaska, where there are auroras and old hot springs. Half of the book revolves around “outsiders” of this town, and turns the townspeople into some sort of cult that worships the girl who they once ignored. As Corey gets to the bottom of the so called “mystery”, you have to sit through a bunch of repetitive, flowery nonsense about storytelling, being an outsider… being “Lost” – ha, cause that’s the town name… big mystery. There is a whole lot of build up – like 300 pages worth – with seemingly only like 2 characters (and one is dead). And then when you get to the climax of the story, it’s like 3 pages and doesn’t even have an end result. I was hoping that this story would go somewhere, but it really seemed like more of an attempt at flowery words, emotions, and trying to make something into a literary work of art that wasn’t.. something that just ended up being a whole bunch of words with no meaning.

If you want to read through 300 something pages of thrilling literature, you’re not going to find it in this book. I was never at the edge of my seat, and I never really got a supposed resolution. Maybe someone else can read more into the fluff and see that as art instead of the half-plot, but I just couldn’t.

I received an ARC of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Sometimes My Brain Doesn’t Let Me Read

Like almost everyone, I go through phases with books. I’ll get really into Goodreads and find about 5000 books that I want to read, and then I’m pumped and ready to read. Then I go to actually pick up that first book and it just sits there on my desk for about a month. I keep thinking about how much I really want to read, but it’s like my brain literally won’t let me pick up the book. I absolutely hate this feeling. It’s probably one of my least favorite periods of time in life because my entire world revolves around books. I mean, I’m a librarian – I literally deal with books as a job. And then when I go to relax and try to get my brain to stop for a second by immersing myself into another world through a lighthearted fantasy or romantic page turner, I just can’t.

As a kid, I was that dorky little Shirley Temple-haired girl who pretty much had to be forced to go outside and play with her friends because she’d rather read. I distinctly remember dreading having friends over. I remember spending weekends laying all over the living room couch immersed in books. I remember not really ever having a bed time because I was just spending that extra time reading. When I was old enough to truly participate in the Accelerated Reader (AR) programs at school, it then became a competition to me. I wanted to read as many books as possible – even the “hard” ones – just so I could earn the most points. 4th grade was particularly intense because it was essentially one other girl (ohhh Carrie Christensen! I remember you!) and myself competing for the top amount of AR points. She ended up beating me, unfortunately, but I still got to use my points to “buy” a super cool lava lamp at the end of the school year. Pretty sure I worshiped that lamp until early high school.

I don’t have as many memories of reading the next few years because a lot of stuff happened in my life that sent me in one of my “my brain doesn’t let me read” modes. I didn’t really notice until later in life, but I realized that this inability to read occurred when I was going through particularly heavy bouts of depression. When I’m really depressed, I have a tendency to go one of two ways. I either can’t focus enough to pick up a book at all, or I get so obsessive over something – usually a series (whether that be book or TV) that I literally don’t want to do anything else. I much prefer the obsessive modes, but lately for me it’s been the unfocused ones. And it sucks.

For the past 9 or so months, I’ve been stuck in “my brain doesn’t let me read” mode, with an occasional time period where I can read maybe a book or two. It’s had a serious effect on my books read count — I normally average between 50 and 70 books, but it’s September and I’m not even at 15. But I have my reasons – I know why my brain is malfunctioning. I’ve had a bunch of medical issues and a series of medication changes, and I think that maybe I’m finally crawling out of the pit. I’m hopeful that my upswing continues and I get back to full on book hoarding (not that this ever really stopped) and book bingeing. Here’s to hoping!