If I Stay is an acceptable portrayal of a story about family love, perseverance of life, and when it’s time to let go.
Gayle Forman takes the heartbreaking story of a family torn apart by a car crash and wraps it up in a neatly readable, yet bland, ribbon. Although Forman’s writing style does keep you interested in seeing the book all the way through to the end, the ability to connect to the characters is lacking. There is far less substance and any sense of attachment to Mia, the protagonist, is lacklustre at best. As for the secondary characters, there is a certain flatness to them that makes the read less personal, and in my opinion, less effective. There is no sense of connection to the family, as Forman doesn’t take enough time to build them up into a fictional set of characters that one truly cares for.
The theme of music is what kept my attention throughout the book. It is played upon as something that keeps Mia attached to most everyone she loves and I believe that it plays an important role to the overall feeling I think Forman was trying to portray. Now, if only you could hear Mia play her cello while reading, that would draw for a more intimate detailing.
Overall, Forman’s If I Stay is a good read. However, don’t expect any fireworks or emotional attachment to the book as it is just not deep enough for that.
Lots of love, L&A