I don't know who jenny downham is or what she's done (apparently trained as an actor and worked in alternative theatre, kindred spirit, hmmm...) but she can put words together in the most beautiful manner imaginable. I am so very jealous~or actually just so very glad to be able to read her writing.
Before I Die is sixteen-year-old Tessa's story~her thoughts, feelings, wishes, as she experiences them in the months, days, hours before her death. Depressing? Perhaps a bit~i wasn’t really in tears until towards the end, and even then it wasn’t a really sobfest~but it was of course sad. Tessa isn’t the long-suffering altruistic teen we’ve all come to know from those movies-of-the-week and all to prevalent child is dying novels who serve as an inspiration to all around her (though she definitely has her moments~as i hope all of us might). She feels anger, depression, selfishness~lashes out at those around her~goes through most of the horrible teen moments (those times that make you want to send them all away to their own special island as a friend and i had planned when we were barely out of our teens ourselves).
Tessa wants to experiment with sex, with drugs, with life, to fall in love~she wants to experience what is out there to experience (not so uncommon i suppose). Tessa’s father and the mother who has been absent for much of her life find it difficult to place limits on the child who will not live long enough to set her own limits~or to see the consequences poor choices may bring down the line.
This book is a beautiful and startling piece of fiction. One that is written in a true and lyrical voice (easy enough to read in a day, as well. It is one that i want to own and put on my shelves to pick up and read again~or just pick up every now again to read a passage here and there for its poetry.