Title: By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Publication Date: 5 January 2010
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon|Book Depository
After a lifetime of being bullied, Daelyn is broken beyond repair. She has tried to kill herself before, and is determined to get it right this time. Though her parents think they can protect her, she finds a Web site for “completers” that seems made just for her. She blogs on its forums, purging her harrowing history. At her private Catholic school, the only person who interacts with her is a boy named Santana. No matter how poorly she treats him, he just won’t leave her alone. And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life . . . isn’t it?
*** Warning: mention of depression and suicide***
Since reading Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, I’ve been looking for a book that properly dealt with depression. I stumbled upon this novel by complete accident- my cousin was reading it and I took it from her and read it one sitting. It was such a quick read and one I thoroughly enjoyed.
I was impressed first and foremost by Anne Peters’ writing style. It was clear that there was supposed to be a conversation between the reader and the characters. More importantly, the way in which we as readers explore Daelyn’s depression shows that Peters took time to understand what depression really meant. It wasn’t an issue that just affected Daelyn, it was a dynamic problem that affected every person in Daelyn’s life.
One issue I saw while reading some of the reviews on Goodreads is that the website for “completers” gave too many tips and tricks for kids who are already suicidal. And I agree that Peters made it very graphic and descriptive. However, I don’t think Peters was giving a “Guide to Suicide”. I think she intended to show how much pain that each different manner of suicide would cause the person going through suicide. The reason for this is that sometimes (in fact, it seems almost all the time) suicidal people don’t respond to the fact that it would hurt their friends or family. Sometimes, the only thing suicidal people will respond to is the pain they could potentially cause themselves.
A lot of difficult topics were discussed throughout this novel. And all were dealt with in a realistic manner and it’s clear that Peters did her work. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who has an interest in reading a realistic story about suicide and depression.