Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Title: Goodbye Days
Author+Jeff Zentner

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Can a text message destroy your life?
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.
Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help? 


"Where are you guys? Text me back."

This book starts out with one of my worst fears. Sending a text to someone while they're driving, them reading it, which then leads to them getting into a car crash. For our main character, Carver, this fear of mine was all too real. He is the only member of the Sauce Crew remaining, his friends are gone.

What I liked:
- I really appreciated the theme of anxiety in this book. I feel as if my own issues with anxiety were being put on display. Zentner definitely has a way of describing the feelings I, and many others feel, in the middle of an anxiety or panic attack. Although it's hard to describe it when it's happening, you read someone else's recant of it and you're like, "Oh. Someone else deals with what I deal with as well. I'm not as alone as I initially thought I was."
-Carver is absolutely hilarious. I've read other reviews that are annoyed by his and his group's "teenage antics" but I can understand why they were portrayed the way they were. A lot of teenage boys that I knew were immature as well. It's like a rite of passage into adulthood to be an annoying teenage boy. Carver is also a very strong character, as well as extremely intelligent and sarcastic. The sarcasm throughout this book is strong and it made me laugh most of the time even though this book deals with an extremely difficult subject like death.
-The writing is absolutely beautiful. Not only are there hilarious passages, but things get pretty serious when Carver is recalling memories of his time with the Sauce Crew.

What I disliked:
- I found it rather...unbelievable. I'm aware books are stories, but I want the stories I read to be something that I can decently relate to or believe. It was just hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that people in the book were actually placing blame on Carver.
He didn't hold a gun to his friend's head and say "Answer my text while you're driving." He said "Where are you guys? Text me back." It didn't require an immediate response while operating a motorized vehicle, and it definitely wasn't something that I could easily place blame on someone else for. On the other hand, I do know how grief can cloud judgment in times of high emotions so I can't blame Zentner for taking that particular angle.

Quotable Quotes:
“Our memories of our loved ones are the pearl we form around the grain of grief that causes us pain.” 

“For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

DISCLAIMER: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own and are not swayed by any outside factors.

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