Book Review: “Suicide Notes”

You might be thinking – wow, what a depressing book! I promise, however, that Suicide Notes, a novel written by Michael Thomas Ford and first published in 2010, is not nearly as depressing as the title sounds. Instead, it’s a wonderfully-written story with a plot twist that you probably won’t see coming, and it’s definitely a read that I would recommend.

Without giving away too much, here’s some of the basic details of the story:

  • First off: do not read the Amazon reviews of this book unless you want it to be spoiled for you. My review will remains spoiler-free.
  • Jeff, 15, wakes up to find himself in a hospital. No, wait. Not just a hospital – the psychiatric ward of a hospital. He’s not quite sure how he got there, but he’s thrown into a group with a bunch of kids who he believes are crazy. (He also believes that his being there is a mistake, and insists that he isn’t crazy.)
  • Despite his protests, Jeff must stay in the ward for 45 days. He continues to insist that he’s fine, he isn’t crazy, and he should be able to go home. But alas – he has to stay the 45 days.
  • All throughout the story, we’re made aware of the fact that – for reasons unknown – Jeff tried to commit suicide, as evidenced by the bandages on his wrists. We don’t know how, or why, but we do know – he tried.
  • We also know that Jeff seems to have lost his best friend Allie, for reasons unknown. Allow yourself to draw your own conclusions while reading and see if you’re right at the end!
  • Throughout the 45 days, Jeff meets several people, include those kids he really thought were crazy, and they become more human to him. Some of the kids leave, others arrive, but he becomes connected to them.
  • I can’t say much more without spoiling the details – but I’ll tell you this. We find out why Jeff tried to kill himself. We find out why Allie isn’t in his life anymore. We find out other things about Jeff that we didn’t know, and things HE probably didn’t even know. But you’ve got to read the book! If you think you know where it’s going, well… just wait and see, because things certainly didn’t go the way I had expected them to.

This was an absolutely refreshing read. It was honest, down-to-earth and gritty, funny at times, deep, emotional, and as I said – I really didn’t see it coming. Don’t let the title put you off from reading this book. I was unable to find it anywhere in my local library system (I’m guessing perhaps they never ordered it DUE to the title being what it is), but I was able to secure a virtual copy that I was able to read after first seeing this book quoted months ago on a blog I follow.

All in all, I’m very glad I was able to get my “hands” on a copy and read this book. It’s a fictional tale that touches upon suicide, self-discovery, connectedness to others and so much more. It may be pegged as more of a YA novel, but I believe even adults would enjoy reading this one.

Please note that parts of this novel may be triggering to some people, so take that into account when deciding if you should read this book or not.

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