Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Genre: Realistic, Contemporary, LGBT
Release Date: October 14th 2008
Synopsis: I’m not crazy. I don’t see what the big deal is about what happened. But apparently someone does think it’s a big deal because here I am. I bet it was my mother. She always overreacts.
Fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year’s Day to find himself in the hospital. Make that the psychiatric ward. With the nutjobs. Clearly, this is all a huge mistake. Forget about the bandages on his wrists and the notes on his chart. Forget about his problems with his best friend, Allie, and her boyfriend, Burke. Jeff’s perfectly fine, perfectly normal, not like the other kids in the hospital with him. Now they’ve got problems. But a funny thing happens as his forty-five-day sentence drags on: the crazies start to seem less crazy.
Compelling, witty, and refreshingly real, Suicide Notes is a darkly humorous novel from award-winning author Michael Thomas Ford that examines that fuzzy line between “normal” and the rest of us.
Oh, Suicide Notes… This novel was like a little box filled with all kinds of different emotions. Laughter, anger, sadness, heartbreak, confusion, laughter, and more. Suicide Notes was able to bring out so many different emotions. And yes, I know that I wrote laughter twice, but seriously, this book is hilarious. You really wouldn’t think that a story with such sad things in it could be so funny, but Ford managed to form a meaningful story that is as funny as it is full of impact.
“Maybe I can convince my parents to move to France. No one in France cares if you tried to kill yourself. In fact, I think they like you better because you’re all tragic.”
Fifteen-year-old Jeff slit his wrists on New Year’s Eve as an attempt to take away his own life, only to wake up on New Year’s Day in the psychiatric ward of the hospital. And has to stay there for forty-five days. It is pretty obvious to Jeff that he shouldn’t be there, that this is all a mistake. He doesn’t belong in a place filled with crazy kids. He doesn’t need a psychiatrist. He is perfectly normal and sane. Though as time goes on, the crazy kids start to seem less crazy and Jeff realizes some things himself.
I can not even begin to put into words how much I loved Jeff. His funny comments and observation had me loving him almost instantly, and his narration goes off into random tangents, which I found to be highly amusing. But even with all the laughs that Jeff will cause you to have, he is a clearly flawed person. His development is what Suicide Notes is all about, and boy, it was an amazing thing to read about. It only took me three hours to finish all forty-five chapters, because I was so absorbed in Jeff’s story.
Jeff’s problems and reason for committing suicide were all honestly and accurately portrayed, I believe. It never felt as if Ford was trying to downplay something. I actually had to pick up some pieces of my heart after reading the pages that revealed what happened. The rejection, pain, and embarrassment Jeff went through really stabs at ones heart.
The supporting characters are all well-written and play huge roles in Jeff’s development. I’m going to have to be vague, as I believe that Suicide Notes‘ supporting characters will be much more interesting if a person doesn’t know much about them. Let’s just say that I absolutely loved Dr. Katzrupus (nicknamed “Cat Poop” by Jeff) Bone, Juliet, Sadie, and Martha. And while there were some characters that I didn’t take a liking to or just didn’t get to spend a good amount of time with them, they never felt unneeded.
Reading Suicide Notes requires a mature and receptive mind. While the novel has a lot of humor, it can get dark at times, and many topics, such as suicide, sexuality, identity, and abuse, are all examined, discussed, and depicted at some point throughout the story.
I enjoyed reading Ford’s prose. It’s pleasant and gets the job more than well done. And seriously, I utterly devoured all the passages that are chock full of humor. This author really knows how to make a reader laugh!
“Sometimes I think there’s someone up there just sitting around thinking of ways to make me look like a complete moron. Seriously, I bet there’s an angel—or, more likely, a demon—assigned just to me. And every day it gets up and asks itself what it can do to ruin my life. Well, today it got an A plus.”
If there is anything that this novel is really lacking, it’s an epilogue. I would have loved to find out how Jeff patches things up with his best friend Allie and went through life after he got out of the hospital. Unfortunately, my longing will only stay as that, longing 😦
Suicide Notes is a compelling novel that will make you experience all kinds of emotions. I loved it and can’t recommend it enough. It’s humor, characters, and portrayal of problems that many teenagers face absolutely wows me. Just please, read this book!