It seems weird to say that I thoroughly enjoyed a book about people planning their suicide, but the book is so charming, heartfelt and well-written that I have no choice. Mark, age 30 and a failed writer, buys an old bus, hires a young army vet as the driver and hides an ad in the personals inviting people to come with him on a country-wide road trip to San Francisco, where they will find a beautiful cliff, drive off the edge and end their life, and their pain, together.
Mark picks up several people on his journey, all joining for their own particular reasons. Mark provides the ride, snacks and drinks – the only requirement is that each person upload their stories through texts, voicemails and emails to a cloud-based database. Through these uploads, and the interactions between group members, we begin to know each person and why they have made the ultimate decision to end their lives.
The author writes about the topic of suicide in a very straight-forward manner and through each person’s story, the reader begins to understand that none of the characters made this choice lightly. While some people may ultimately feel that certain characters’ issues are not “big” enough to decide to end things, especially since some of the characters are rather young, the author does a good job of forcing the reader to see things from the character’s perspective. Everyone has their own level of tolerance, and what is no big deal to one person, could be life shattering to another.
Even though the topic is very heavy, the author does a great job of sprinkling in light and funny moments. There are also plenty of heartfelt interactions between the characters and while I didn’t cry while reading the book, there were times when I had to stop and live in the moment of what I had just read. Don’t let the weighty topic dissuade you from reading this book. It’s a wonderful read that will stay with you long after you put it down.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Gallery Books. All opinions are my own.